Unreality

Unreality


First watch this:


This video reminded me of a formation of an art career I decided not to pursue back in my undergrad days. For various psychological reasons, I became overly self-conscious of myself and my work. I called it sculptural stage fright. I coined this term largely due to anxiety and fear. In my studies since, I’ve come across a thing called imposter syndrome. Really unbelievably blown way that I was fortunate enough to pursue something that comes naturally as a career, I kept asking, “Is it *really* okay to make [a thing]?” Maybe it was catholic guilt, too. Living a strange, hybrid life and largely still doing so, I remember very clearly standing in front of department studio locker and having a passing revelation of a whole reality for myself. This reality was based on fabrication though, and not the physical kind. The lying kind of fabrication. It was to be my unreal real work. I reasoned out a ‘virtual’ way to be an artist.

Imposter Syndrome …is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

From: Wikipedia but I’ve also read apa.org and the like

Simple Math

Here’s the equation: I was learning Photoshop and various AutoCAD programs, specifically Form-Z at the time. I could take that skill, my knowledge of materials and process from a class of the same name; and even images of existing art venues, and combine them. After using design skills to make fake posters for shows that didn’t existing, I could share/publish images of photo realistic virtual sculptures in real or imagined spaces as my portfolio.

Result

The product of photo manipulation skills, plus virtual object creation, and raised to a power of an artist with decades of a body of work equals an instant, out fo the gate, art career. A collector didn’t know I had a piece at MOMA? No problem, here’s the detailed photo evidence of my piece in the space. The light reflects perfectly off the dull stainless steel, and everything. Look, there’s even a person standing in front admiring it.


Reality of Unreality

I realized that I had the power, between Photoshop and AutoCAD, to make sculptures that didn’t exist and put them in existing galleries, museums, or even make up new ones. Realistic sculptures, down to the very textures of materials, that never actually exist. One could create a whole body of work. This work can be placed in just as real environments. The artist never has to make a single thing or solicit, or be invited to, a single showing of work in real life. This was my plan for an art career circa 1996-1999. Technology wasn’t quite there yet. Now, according to this video, it is and then some.

CAD image of a Menger Sponge

I created a Menger Sponge in Form-Z. At the time, the full material render would crash the entire computer.

Reflection

I think such a practice relates to the ‘wilderness’ portion of the video. As the video states, we can pretty much emulate anything realistically through software. In doing so with the idea above, the reality of a career is based solely on the creation of virtual work and manipulated into real or fictional venues. So a real individual has a wholly fabricated career based on nonexistent work in real or nonexistent space.

Flexible Realities

This blurs the real and the virtual in a potentially amazing and/or dangerous way. I place the idea in this ‘wilderness’ because of that. Additional alarms go off when one could takes advantage of creating false memories a la the comedian Sinbad/Shazzam movie debacle. If enough viewers claim to have seen the show, or at least remember hearing about it (coupled with realistically fabricated proof in my idea’s case), the literal reality of the matter is entirely debatable.

An old sculpture

A 1997 work called Pendulum. To get a decent shot, I bricked up the right background). garage via Photoshop (again in 1997).


Drawbacks

This type of practice has extensive permission issues as well as full blown fraudulent implications. Ethical problems, in other words. Imagine dummy corporations created to bloat stock prices, or an investment opportunity that doesn’t have a working prototype (Like the very reason Kickstarter now requires a functioning sample).

Mentally disturbing

It embodies the pinnacle of that mentality known as ‘imposter syndrome’, which also fascinates/haunts me. In my studies of identity and personality, the desperate takes this almost tragic route. As an artist it straddles a both fascinating/horrifying line between myth and fact. Frauds could easily and quickly be rooted out via Human, Cyber, Digital Network, and even Signals intelligence gathering techniques (among others). Especially human, though; just ask the curator of the institution and they’ll say they never heard of the artist.

The Video

This video, recently shared by colleagues further along in the field, drummed all this up for me again. Now that I am more mature, and having more confidence, it may be time to revisit aspects of this idea. It is also videos or subjects like this that bring other thoughts. Namely that very often–so often I have trouble believing the frequency–I think of such things much earlier than when videos like this come to light. I have detailed plans, musings, and extended thoughts, and when I see something like this I wonder, “I should have pursued [such a subject] further, or at least released my thoughts in some way.” I should trust my instincts far more, in all aspects.

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