Rammellzee and Enfys Nest: The Gothic Futurism of Star Wars

I saw Solo: A Star Wars Story (NOTE: one plot spoiler below) the first weekend it opened with a friend, Rich Seymour. Leaving the theater, Rich mentioned how the costume for Enfys Nest resembled work by the late artist Ramellezee.

We both checked our phones to see if anyone else made the connection. It seems only one other person had — a user named OutlawVern:

In search of the inspiration for Enfys Nest’s attire, I found a Nerdist interview with the Solo costume designers, although didn’t provide a direct connection:

[David] Crossman: For Enfys Nest and her gang, we [drew] from a lot of different cultures, so that it didn’t feel like one thing in in particular. Japanese is in there, and there’s some First Nation stuff. Also stuff that’s made up, to get that feeling of the really eclectic mix of the gang.

Whether or not the Garbage Gods armor directly influenced the Enfys Nest costume, it is good timing because there’s a Rammellzee exhibit in New York that’s open now until late August 2018. The exhibit includes an entire floor dedicated to these suits of armor:

The most remarkable works were his “Garbage Gods,” full-body suits of armor, some of which weighed more than a hundred pounds. They look like junk-yard Transformers doing samurai cosplay. — The Spectacular Personal Mythology of Rammellzee,
The New Yorker

Between the movie and learning about the exhibit, I spent the next few days devouring material about Rammellzee. You may also see his name spelled as RAMMΣLLZΣΣ or RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ. That’s because, as he explained, it wasn’t a name — it was an equation.

Broadly defined, his work could be considered part of Afrofuturism (see also: ONA15 “Whose Idea of the Future is This?” session). But Rammellzee defined himself differently. He created his own movement/philosophy called Gothic Futurism.

To me, the blending of past and future — as well as the use of found materials (i.e. “garbage”) — represents a very fitting aesthetic to incorporate into the Star Wars universe. Star Wars is, after all, set “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” features a number of scavengers and plenty of garbage.

Coincidence or unconscious inspiration, the world of Star Wars led me to the world of Rammellzee. So the next time you see a movie, try and find some of the inspirations behind it.

I’d love to see any of your favorite pop culture inspirations, so please share those in the comments. For example, this Everything is a Remix video about the original Star Wars film.

Also, speaking of inspiration, check out Images of inspiration: The visual genealogy of Kon, Jodorowsky and Friedrich.

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