As a troll-subscriber to Feltzine's Indie CGI Instagram feed, I see a lot of net art/vaporwave indie CGI, and some of it is fantastic. Some is not. The work of El Popo Sangre (26 y/o Parisian Paulin Rogues) has featured a few times, leaping out as distinct mainly because he ignores the rote recipe of palm fronds, tropical colours, 90s graphics, Roman columns and marble textures that marks the genre. Paulin deviates from the recipe, and his recipe is deviant, perhaps even to the point of outsider art.
The name El Popo Sangre translates as "the blood poo" (great start) and he subjects his CGI readymades - created in MakeHuman and manipulated in C4D - to something more personal and transformative. His human figures are caught between shockingly NSFW fetish and something deeply personal.
His interest in mishandling the body has something in common with Claudia Mate, Mike Pelletier, Albert Omoss and Geoffrey Lillemon but is very distinct, often due to the panda-patterning of his figures' faces and the recurring scenes of psychosexual dynamics. He distorts body parts in an instantly recognisable style, even when toned down and Staff Picked, as with his recent film Postiche, which as he says is "a play I wrote in 2007, with its freshness, innocence and mistakes." Postiche translates as either "false" or "hairpiece". You decide.
Paulin says his work "expresses emotion with a medium absolutely disconnected from that: a computer" and in Postiche you can clearly detect a Dadaist disavowal of the expressive, despite the charged subject matter. The work doesn't have rationale, despite being conveyed through a highly rational medium. It has the spontaneity of a sketch and is full of ambiguities that are normally excised from CGI, being as it is a traditionally laborious medium with a low tolerance for ambiguity.
Because of it's industrial nature, CGI tends to have any elements of drag streamlined out of it, and in the work of El Popo Sangre, that drag is the work itself. And that's not just glitch, by the way - I'm not interested in yet another example of the same worn critical clichés about the digital. This sort of work isn't just addressing the materiality of an immaterial medium, but the drag of creativity - or sexuality, even. Perhaps, as Paulin suggested via email, CGI now offers him less drag than a "dead" pencil sketch.
Coincidentally, there's the lineage of another type of drag here: the parallels with the visual language of Leigh Bowery, who I think, like Paulin Rogues, may have been sent from another dimension.