Stewart Home FAKES & RE-MAKES - Lock-down virtual workshop (PUBLISHING MODULE)
FAKES & RE-MAKES - Lock-down virtual workshop series as part of the PUBLISHING MODULE.
Teacher: Stewart Home
Location: Zoom (online location sent out via email)
The Publishing seminar is mandatory for all MFA1 students enrolled in Advanced Artistic Work 1. MFA2 and BFA students are also strongly encouraged to participate in the seminar module.
- Lecture followed by discussions
- Online Workshop / practical exercises
TUESDAY, APRIL 28th, 11am-1pm
TUESDAY MAY 5th, 11am-1pm
THURSDAY, MAY 12th, 11am-1pm
A note from Stewart:
Workshops to fake and re-make art works and much else. Output to be posters, performance and documentation as a result of group discussions. Do we want to actually circulate fakes as genuine works? Or just make a point about authorship with them? What is easiest to successfully fake or do we want our fakes to fail? Do we want to include the circulation of hoaxes (‘fake news’) as part of the project? Why re-make rather than fake?
When we fake or re-make something it serves to underscore how we require a shared language to communicate, and how riding on the shoulders of others can give our work a big push but there are potential downsides to drawing heavily on what others have done. A recent article by Sherry Turkle on nuclear weapons design highlighted this:
“At Livermore, in 2005, a legendary senior weapons designer — Seymour Sack — was preparing to retire. At an MIT workshop, his colleagues discussed this retirement and referred to it as “a blow.” They were anxious about more than the loss of one man’s ability to make individual scientific contributions. He had irreplaceable knowledge about the programming that supported current practice, one weapons designer told anthropologist Hugh Gusterson, who published a paper on the topic of scientific involution across three generations of nuclear science. His colleagues fretted: “He has such a great memory that he hasn’t written down lots of important stuff. How will people know it?”
“The response to this scientist’s imminent retirement was a movement to videotape him and all the other scientists who were about to leave service. This was no ordinary oral history. It was infused with anxiety. Those who know only the top layer of programs feel powerful because they can do amazing things. But they are dependent on those who can go deeper. So those who feel most powerful also feel most vulnerable.” See:
Likewise, it is hard to know whether artistic fakes buoy up the art market or call it into question, but others can have deadly effects, for example The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a text used by the Nazis and others to justify genocide:
“Source material for the forgery consisted jointly of Dialogue aux enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu (Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu), an 1864 political satire by Maurice Joly; and a chapter from Biarritz, an 1868 novel by the antisemitic German novelist Hermann Goedsche, which had been translated into Russian in 1872.
“A major source for the Protocols was Der Judenstaat (1896) by Theodor Herzl, which was referred to as Zionist Protocols in its initial French and Russian editions. Paradoxically, early Russian editions of the Protocols assert that they did not come from a Zionist organization. The text, which nowhere advocates for Zionism, resembles a parody of Herzl's ideas.
“The Protocols is one of the best-known and most-discussed examples of literary forgery, with analysis and proof of its fraudulent origin dating as far back as 1921. The forgery is an early example of "conspiracy theory" literature. Written mainly in the first person plural, the text includes generalizations, truisms, and platitudes on how to take over the world: take control of the media and the financial institutions, change the traditional social order, etc. It does not contain specifics.” See: ,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Protocols_of_the_Elders_of_Zion>
Re-makes have featured heavily in my own work. For example I took the British National Health Service organ donor card and used the design to make a necrocard more than 20 years ago. This enabled the bearer to leave their bodiy for others to have sex with after death. The point I wanted to make was that acceptable sex is consensual, something the me too movement has recently brought into much greater prominence. In theory necrophilia could be consensual although in practice it generally isn’t. For some old thoughts of mine on this piece see:
In 2002 I applied the logic of Hollywood to the most unlikely of films. On its fiftieth anniversary I remade Guy Debord;s Screams In Favour of de Sade in English and in colour. See: - description of film beneath video.
I further explored the same area but depended less on an original to copy with the short film The Eclipse & Re-Emergence of the Oedipus Complex: See - This was made while I was in Melbourne as visiting artist at the Victorian College of the Arts in May 2004. In the movie avant-garde techniques and the avant-garde obsession with death interweave with reflections on the life and death of my mother Julia Callan-Thompson. Images of my mum working as a fashion model and club hostess during the sixties are cut against an at times deliberately dissociated soundtrack that uses stories about her to explore the limits of documentary cinema. This is simultaneously an expression of love and loss and an attempt to draw out the ways in which the avant-garde Lettrist cinema of the early fifties in France was commercialised in the later work of Godard, Marker and Resnais. My mother became a subject for me in various mediums, as well as this film there is the novel Tainted Love (Virgin Books 2005) and the morph series Becoming (M)other (2204 - made with Chris Dorley Brown). A catalogue for The Age of Anti-Ageing (2014), which featured Becoming (M)other and a later series of morphs that ghosted this earlier piece can be found and downloaded here: The format of The Eclipse & Re-Emergence of the Oedipus Complex which drew on lettrist cinema was utilised in later works with multi-voice dissociated image and soundtracks such as the short films Re-Enter The Dragon (2016) and Bondage As Theme And Technique (2019 - made with Itziar Bilbao Urrutia). Neither of these are currently online as I’m still showing them in galleries.
My 2018 book Re-Enter The Dragon: Genre Theory, Brucesploitation & The Sleazy Joys of Lowbrow Cinema, explores a subgenera of martial arts exploitation films that often deployed fakery and copying as a strategy for attracting audiences. See:
Likewise many ion my novels have drawn other books - pulp British youth culture novels of the 1970s for Slow Death - see ; Grant Allen’s An African Millionaire & Victorian porn in the case of Whips & Furs: My Life as a bon-vivant, gambler and love rat by ‘Jesus H. Christ’ see ; Ann Quin’s Berg in the case of 69 Things To Do With A Dead Princess see ; spam email and Oulipo in the case of Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie see ; and the very fictional ‘true’ crime genre from Elizabethan cony catching pamphlets onwards in the case of The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones see
Appropriation has been a feature of art since at least the early days of modernism - Duchamp’s Fountain for example - and forgery goes back much further. Initially seen more as a feature of Hollywood, re-makes are characteristic of much recent art with the the re-staging of events such as a Cramps concert at Napa State Mental Hospital as File Under Sacred Music by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard. According to these two artists: “ This process of acting and re-enacting is, for us, about freezing a moment, making it jitter with the noise of then and now.” (See https://frieze.com/article/iain-forsyth-jane-pollard-influences).
One might assume that Rod Dickinson’s The Milgram Re-Enactment was more self-consciously critical of the psychology experiment it revisits. But the explanation Dickinson’s website provides makes his reasoning for creating the work sound remarkably like Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard’s for their re-enactiments: “The original experiment was laden with artifice (fake electric shocks, actors playing scientists, pre-recorded screams of pain), and was itself a coded re-enactment of events that took place during the holocaust. The re-enactment set up a further set of iterations through time and space; actors playing the role of actors, the repetition of the experiment as a live performance eight times in real time.” (See https://www.roddickinson.net/pages/milgram/project-synopsis.php).
Taking a less notorious piece of psychological research such as Stanley Rachman’s Sexual Fetishism: An Experimental Analogue (see https://www.gwern.net/docs/psychology/1966-rachman.pdf) can provide a talking point for a new work and how the various ways it might be re-enacted or re-created depending on how critical those producing it wish to be. Rachman’s problematic piece of research - very few subjects and flawed methodology - was recently invoked in a piece of journalism that suggested it ‘proved’ association of non-sexual material with sexual material can turn it into a trigger for sexual arousal: “This theory was proven in 1966, with a study performed by Stanley Rachman, where colored photographic slides of naked women were projected onto a screen for 15 seconds, followed by another image of a pair of black, knee-length women's boots projected for 30 seconds. Sexual arousal was successfully conditioned in this study, meaning that the participants eventually became aroused when looking at the image of the black boot.” (See https://bigthink.com/sex-relationships/psychology-of-foot-fetishes). While we can discuss how we might approach a re=enactment of Rachman’s Sexual Fetishism, we should also explore other experiments and events that might be re-enacted. We can then figure out which of the suggestions people throw in we might want to re-enact, it doesn’t need to be Rachman.
That said faking and re-making print material will form as much a focus as re-enactment. Reworking material also provides access to aesthetic structures that can be less visible utilised for the creation of new works. So the work does not have to obviously be a fake or re-make. When I organised a protest against a Stockhausen concert in Brighton in 1993, I morphed a very famous and a lesser known 1960s protest together with some new elements. See
Likewise, when I wanted to make promotional videos for my books in the 1990s I collaborated with friends who made pop videos and the earlier videos look like pop videos for books. Initially people thought it really weird that a writer was making videos to promote his books but with the rise of the internet this has become a normal and regular occurrence. With later videos for my books and spoken word records I was exploring fetish material that was borderline to rule breaking on YouTube. Some videos were allowed others were banned. There’s a selection below, and also an anti-gentrification spell/protest I organised and made with local witches in the Old Street area of London, because my new novel She’s My Witch is published at the end of July and I need promo videos for that, so if anyone has ideas I’m also open to making them as part of this workshop too - although it would be great if everyone could make a print work too!
Promo for story collection No Pity https://youtu.be/Wk2ikF5sf4Y
Promo for novel Red London https://youtu.be/5AKUQMhfGBk
Promo for spoken word LP Proletarian Post Modernism titled to appeal to urination fetishists: https://vimeo.com/83637862
Promo for novel 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones, but titled to attract crushing fetishists https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea3d5cHsr3k
Hex In The Park: A Video Spell https://youtu.be/nYMQiBlY4eg
Learning Outcomes: Students learn how to copy, create fakes and remake artworks, text and performances.