“In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. […] Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow.”
— Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)
“It seemed to be a sort of monster, or symbol representing a monster, of a form which only a diseased fancy could conceive. If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings…”
— H. P. Lovecraft (1926)
“In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.”
— Guy Debord
This little demonstration shows how our minds can be fooled. And also… Marilyn Monroe was murdered. #IamNOTaCAT.
“You construct fake news broadcasts on video camera… And you scramble your fabricated news in with actual news broadcasts… [Y]ou can advertise the fact that you are writing news in advance and trying to make it happen by techniques which anybody can use. And that makes you NEWS. And a TV personality as well, if you play it right .”
— William S. Burroughs
How do we define fake? Something which does not exist? Or something which is other than what it proclaims to be? A fake knife can still draw real blood. What is the potential of the “fake” to have “real” consequences? At what point will “fake news” rule the world? Is there such a thing as fake art? Either all art is fake; or none is.
Video documentation of a work-in-progress performance of the 2nd (C)amendment at the Instytut Kultury IKONA in Warsaw. 2019.
“artist-in-residence” was a 24 hour public performance and the expression of a sustained contemplation on the contemporary social struggle of homelessness through durational performance art, followed by an audio/visual sculptural installation exhibition. “artist-in-residence” was part of FakeArtist’s month-long residency at The Guesthouse in Cork, Ireland.
This work focused on modes of representation in depicting the relationship between the material (sculpture/modified readymades) and the experiential/performative.
It sought to create a socially engaged performative space in which to accentuate the potential of performance art to critique or subvert power mechanisms in everyday life.
This is not something I’ve written much about, but in my 20s I worked, lived, and traveled as a full-time street performer. It is a rewarding, but challenging line of work, and I was lucky to be shown the ropes in Seattle by a pair of jugglers (Matt Baker and Alex Zerbe) performing as The Brothers from Different Mothers, and a magician / underground legend named Tom Frank. The Brothers taught me how to build and work a large circle show, while Tom introduced me to some of the finer points of the artistry and philosophy of the busking lifestyle. This is kind of funny, since Tom denies caring about theory or philosophy.
Nevertheless, he lives it and radiates it. Tom was mentored by, perhaps, the most legendary of American street magicians, the great Jim Cellini. Among many of Cellini’s pieces of wisdom, which I still carry with me everyday almost 20 years later: “Just being there with your shit is half the battle.”
In New Orleans, I learned some additional pointers from the brilliant Jimmy Talksalot who introduced me to the writing of John Fante and taught me how to street perform in the French Quarter without winding up in jail. I spent part of that summer taking notes about street performing, magic, and all things strange, from the one and only Harry Anderson. When Harry found out I was living in a cheap hotel next to a guy that sounded like he was dying of tuberculosis, he let me come stay in his guest quarters for a while. Harry passed away last year, far too early, but his approach to comedy, magic, and life have helped me travel and perform around the globe. Harry said that when he was little: “I wanted to have everything, and I wanted to get it all by doing magic.” Well done, Harry. And I’m glad a little of that rubbed off on me.
“But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence… illusion only is sacred, truth profane. Nay, sacredness is held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness.”
— Ludwig Feuerbach
Plastic on Plastic is a conceptual artwork which situates a novelty “dog poop” in a plexi-glass box. This piece is an an ironic synthesis between the Russian Suprematism movement – typified by Kazimir Malevich’s 1918 White on White – and the exploration of human waste in conceptual art beginning with Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 “readymade” The Fountain.
This meta-pop-artwork transplants this curious readymade polyurethane sculpture from one absurd context to another, posing questions about the nature of sculpture and simulation, as well as physical and environmental waste. Simultaneously, the piece celebrates the playfulness of the human spirit, which for nearly a century, has found equal parts joy and disgust in this ersatz object.
“The society which rests on modern industry is not accidentally or superficially spectacular, it is fundamentally spectaclist. In the spectacle, which is the image of the ruling economy, the goal is nothing, development everything. The spectacle aims at nothing other than itself.”
— Guy Debord
Why Not Cheeze Balls? situates 10 pounds of hand-cut Corian in a one pound “family sized” plastic jar of Cheese Balls. Corian is a plastic form of artificial marble, and in this piece, 752 unique hand-cut shapes have replaced the 28 ounces of artificial cheese flavored “balls.” This artwork follows in the lineage of the “assisted ready-made” of Marcel Duchamp, Why Not Sneeze, Rose Sélavy? in which 152 cubes of marble pose as 152 sugar cubes in a birdcage. One piece at a time, this artwork excruciatingly juxtaposes an artificial home decorating material with an artificial food product, posing the ultimate question: Could Batman really beat Superman in a fight?
A post-postmodern critique on mindless consumerism and home internet shopping, #571 explores readymade object manipulation through the mediums of poetry and video, juxtaposing the style of modernist poetry with text found and inspired by fake/ironic reviews for the product on Amazon.com.
#571 depicts the ambiguity and irony with which video presents the processes of material and aesthetic, or almost erotic, consumption in reference to the iconosphere of popular culture in which consumption is often associated with erotic motifs. But when is irony an agent of change and when is it an empty celebration of the status quo?
#571 was, as well, an acknowledgment to the removal of the artwork Consumer Art by Natalia LL from the Modern Art wing of the National Museum of Poland due to the allegedly erotic and obscene implications of the work. #571 was developed as part of FakeArtist’s residency with IKONA – Instytut Kultury Ośrodek Nowej Awangardy in Warsaw, Poland.