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In Anxious Anticipation: Exploring Risk, Fear + Empowerment via Visual Stimulus

Risk, Fear + Empowerment via Visual Stimulus
Art director Kyle Bean and photographer Aaron Tilley have co-produced "In Anxious Anticipation" a series of images that explore precise moments of maximum tension and inevitability. The pair were assigned this precarious task for Kinfolk Magazine's Adrenaline Issue. In his own brilliantly scribed essay, writer Jordan Kushins elaborates on the nature of risk, survival and evolution, along with the ideas, conditions and consequences of what he refers to as "indirect adrenaline"

Nowadays instead of chasing off wild animals, a new generation of thrill-seekers is actively chasing a similar kind of energy and finding innovative ways to raise the stakes—artificially. As we don’t actually need to put ourselves in the line of fire anymore (literally), isn’t it a safer option to seek our stimulations virtually?

A host of digital platforms has emerged to share these first-hand experiences with those who prefer their arousal once removed. We can now access a veritable smorgasbord of sensations with a click, from Netflixing horror films for a scary fix to following rock climbing adventures of professional scalers on Instagram or tuning into the NBA Finals through patchy third-party websites. In many ways, this ease has transformed us into a society of vibe voyeurs.


Bean & Tilley were commissioned to create a visual narrative for this concept, effectively collaborating to dream up imagery that would provoke a visceral reaction via virtual means. And while looking at these images may not grant one the speed or power to outrun a bear or lift a car, the unanimous reaction people seem to be having is "MORE". The duo produced only six images, further accentuating the rift between tension and satiation, and lending credence to Kushins musings on the addictive rush of virtual thrill-seeking.

In Anxious Anticipation
An ink drop hangs on the brink of OCD disaster above a shirt which could not be more white or pristine.

In Anxious Anticipation
A bowling ball poised for the crackling destruction of bubblewrap.

In Anxious Anticipation
Eggs rolling down a chute reach the point of no return before meeting an untimely end in the form of a marble slab.

In Anxious Anticipation
A balloon hovers over a bed of razor sharp nails. You can almost feel your body brace against the *POP!*

In Anxious Anticipation
Cinderblocks fall like dominoes, 0.2 seconds away from crushing a cocktail glass. (For some reason this one makes us physically wince)

All images courtesy of Aaron Tilley and Kyle Bean

If you enjoyed this article, definitely check out the full write-up at Kinfolk, or even better - grab your own copy of the full issue, which is on sale at their online shop.

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