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L.A. Beat

Cuddle Commandos exhibit satirizes military bureaucracy

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The instruments of war don’t seem so ominous when covered in  soft pink felt. That’s the idea behind former University of Lethbridge New Media professor/ artist Christopher Moore’s Cuddle Commando exhibit opening this week in the Helen  Christou Gallery next to the University of Lethbridge library.Christopher Moore  gets ready to snap, crackle and pop. Photo by Richard Amery
 Using a medium called flocking, Moore  covered an array of toy guns, grenades, tanks, aircraft and  military apparel with soft pink felt.
“I’ll also be  enlisting recruits to the cuddle commandos,” laughed Moore, clad in a  self designed puppy print camouflage uniform and pink officer’s cap standing next to a display case of his work and a number of  mock bureaucratic forms and recruitment posters. The Concordia University professor taught at the University of Lethbridge from 2004-2008. The exhibit, which is part of  Snap Crackle  and Pop exhibit featuring  several Southern Alberta artists, Lisa Brawn, Dave and Jenn, Jason Mathis, Len Komanac plus Shanell Papp in the main gallery,  runs Jan. 15- Feb. 26.
 Leading up to  the  opening reception, Jan. 15  from 4 p.m,.-6 p.m., Moore will be “recruiting” all week long from 11 a.m.- 12 p.m. and 1-2 p.m. in the Helen Christou Gallery. His exhibit in the Helen Christou Gallery is up until March 5.
 “It has a lot of fun with all of the systems which come with government. There’s giant stamps and embossed seals,” he said.
“It’s a satire of bureaucracy. I’ll be recruiting  to the Cuddle Commandos, so I’ll be asking people questions. The Cuddle Commandos are a mock military organization. Some of our goals are the core of respect and defence and a better return to civility and sense of  decorum between individuals,” he described adding his work is designed to  not only make people smile, but also think about  war and the instruments of war in a different way, not to mention re-examine people’s aggressive tendencies.
He has been working on the project since 2007, but most of the items were created in 2009.
The  seed of the project happened a few years ago when Moore noticed people wearing  camouflage as a fashion accessory, and decided it would be fun do design “cuter” camouflage using puppy and kitten  graphics. He doesn’t have a background in fashion, he  went to the Ontario College of Art and  earned his MFA  at the Nova Scotia College of Art.
People  have been responding positively to the project after the first day, Monday.
“In general people have a smile on their faces. They can’t not respond to something like this,” he said.
 “They smile, but they think about it, and then they have a deeper connection with it, ” he continued adding Lethbridge is the first audience to get a glimpse of the project. He is planning to take it to other galleries.
—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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