“Wastedland 2”: Spray-Painting Your Existential Crisis

by Bri Kane

Ever feel like putting on a wolf mask and wandering around for a great new tag spot? Well, you’re in luck, because Wastedland 2 is coming to town, and the immersive film experience lets viewers not only watch the film, but feel as if they’re in it. Walking through the post-apocalyptic, graffiti-heavy set allows one to enter the world of Wastedland with the unease and searching sensation the film explores. Through vandals played by grafitti aritsts Wolftits, Avoid and Smells, the film explores our role in the universe and the “what is the point?” kind of existential questioning that would lead anyone to don a robot suit made of cardboard. They’re searching for UFO 907, whose tag they’ve been following through various decimated and vacant areas while coming across drugs, drinks and dank spots to tag. They find other big graffiti names such as Rambo, Noxer and EKG — together exploring the meaning of life in their paint-covered, post-apocalyptic world.


WASTEDLAND 2Wastedland 2’s opening mural featuring (from left to right) artist Russell Murphy, organizer Andrew H. Shirley, photographers Autin Pinon and Marris Mielnick – Photographer Nick McManus

It is no coincidence that the UFO 907 shares its name with the notorious Brooklyn-based 907 crew, known for sharp colors and out of this world imagery. Many actors in the film are also in this crew. Aliens and animals play a big part in the imagery of this crew, which is highlighted in the ethical questioning and costuming of Wastedland 2. Who and what are we, as well as why are we like this, are recurring questions in their street graffiti, and the same questions are explored further in the film. The immersive style of viewing the film allows the audience to experience this conscious questioning instead of merely watching masked vandals question their role in this big spray paint can we call life. Textile artist and friend of BUST Amy Smalls is a contributing artist as well, no surprise here, since she does awesome dystopian themed art in addition to BUST’s Nasty Woman banner for the Women’s March. 

Creator Andrew H. Shirley has a reputation for explorative and immersive art shows, with a clear preference for vandal life-style imagery. By using spoken word, sculpture, tags, and artifacts Shirley creates the scene of a wandering, art-centered group of nobodies who desperately want to figure out what it means to be a “somebody,” or if anyone really is a “somebody.” 

WASTEDLAND 2 2Detroit Sign Painters owner Zak Warman (center) underneath Wastedland 2′ namesake graffiti – Photographer Nick McManus

The one day only showing is Friday, September 15th at the Knockdown Center (52-19 Flushing Ave, Maspeth, NY 11378) with an open reception from 7pm-midnight and showing of the original film at 9pm and 11pm. Throughout the reception various DJs and bands such as DIRTYFINGER, UNSTOPPABLE DEATH MACHINES, NINJASONIK, JACER RACER & THE UFOHOES and KARMA KIDS will perform. So put on your weirdest Halloween mask and go enjoy some free-form existential question inducing art and film.

Check out the trailer and more at https://wastedland2.com.

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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