I am personally interested in random places that have the ‘Blade Runner’ feel,” says Ryan Allen, a PhD student from New York, who co-created the account @bladerunnerreality to post pictures of places that are aesthetically similar to Ridley Scott’s cult film.
“We realized we had a lot of photos of a certain kind of architecture or lighting which evoked flashbacks of ‘Blade Runner.’ We both loved the look so we got pretty excited about finding more of it in New York pretty quickly,” adds the other creator, Siddharth Chander, who now works in education in Washington, D.C.
They are also fascinated by the craft shown in the film. “The future isn’t clean, like so many other movies depict. It’s just this one little detail that builds this very real-feeling world,” says Ryan. Siddharth adds, “Yes, I think the detail is really inspiring. That kind of thinking resulted in one of the most beautiful films ever. You’d like to see that sort of creativity encouraged more often.”
Both Ryan and Siddharth share their own images of ‘Blade Runner’-inspired sightings, and also curate submissions of original pictures on the account. “For instance, we recently had one from Kazakhstan, which I don’t think is a place that immediately evokes a futuristic look,” says Ryan. Siddharth adds, “The best part of this whole thing was that right from the beginning we were contacted by a few people from Europe and South America who just loved it.
“We aren’t telling a story, each photo sort of tells a different story and then the next day it’s something new entirely,” says Siddharth.
On a Saturday night this past spring, screeching dissonant guitars and a clashing, heavy-handed beat could be heard filling a dark bar in downtown Oakland. If one were to have peaked their head in, they would have been surprised to find the noise coming from just two people: drummer Ignat Frege (@hand_model) and multi-instrumentalist Felix Skinner (@felixskinner).
The two make up Wreck and Reference, a metal band from Los Angeles that defies most of the traditional trappings of metal bands. There is no guitar on stage, no bassist. Only two musicians, one of who, Felix, elicits piercing, guttural screams into the microphone while striking the pads on an electronic sampler strapped around his neck.
“It was clear early on that the possibilities that it provided were limitless, that it would allow us to run with any mad idea we had,” says Felix, 28, about his use of a tool more closely aligned with electronic and hip-hop music than metal. “We’re typically drawn to sounds that aren’t traceable, that require a bit of wrangling and warping to make just right.”
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Felix began taking guitar lessons at the age of 10. But he was more intrigued in going against the grain with his music than submitting to any prescribed notion of what things were supposed to sound like. He refused to practice the Dave Matthews Band songs his teacher asked him to memorize.
“I was more interested in the strange sounds I could create by hitting the parts of the guitar I was told not to, using my pick to scrape instead of pluck,” he says. “In retrospect, it’s clear this was just a way for me to cope with the fact that my fingers never did what I wanted them to.”
The harsh, unforgiving tones that would eventually make up the sounds of Wreck and Reference go hand-in-hand with the photos Felix likes to take: haunting, captionless images tinted black and gray and red. But when it comes to writing music, it’s more about sensations than images for him, creating songs about unsettling feelings. It’s about tapping into an emotion, no matter if the sound that comes out fits into someone’s built-up perception of a musical genre.
“We’re just as averse to being a ‘synth band’ or an ‘electronic band’ as we are to being a ‘guitar band,’” he says. “As soon as we find ourselves in a box like that we’re overcome by the urge to kick our way out.”
Hello my name is Elie Kimbembe (@visionelie). I’m a 21-year-old artist specializing in photography and design from Toronto. My style is everything and everyone in my environment.
I was born in Congo and moved to Canada when I was a child, so traveling has always been something that’s influenced my life. It’s weird, but I’ve somehow found ways to find good photo opportunities everywhere I go — whether it’s cool architecture or my good-looking friends.
When I see something that sparks my interest visually I always try to capture and share it the way it is. I like to show the people and things I admire most. I want to be versatile in every way possible, and to master all aspects of making something out of nothing.