As we prepare to present our newest showcase The Authentic Fake, we
start by asking the question: What is hyperreality?
The idea of reality and fiction seamlessly blending together to the point where human consciousness is no longer able to distinguish between the two is not new. It can be argued that Plato’s allegory of the cave was already dealing with the problem of differentiating between reality and appearance. Centuries later, German philosopher Immanuel Kant would declare that perceiving such difference is simply impossible since there is no way of telling how reality in itself looks like since we don’t actually perceive the real but rather construct it in our minds while trying to categorise and conceptualise our surroundings.
While some thinkers posited some ways of approximating the real, such as
intuition or the use of the body as a system of knowledge, it was
Postmodern thought that took the problem one step further by declaring not only that reality cannot be known, but that such impossibility was due to the fact that the real had already been swallowed and replaced by its own copy. The hyperreal corresponds to a state of affairs where the blending of reality and fiction that Plato described thousands of years ago has taken over as a ‘simulation’ of the real. The complexity and imperfection of individual and social life has been replaced by its own perfected representation, as if layers of simulation and re-creations have ended up burring the real deep down, leaving us to live in a simulated version of the world.
Monira Al Qadiri, The Craft, 2017
This is what the title of our upcoming showcase refers to, The Authentic
Fake is the way theorist Umberto Eco has described hyperreality and the
frenetic efforts to fabricate ‘real’ experiences by creating fake environments that aim to be even better than the real thing, usually with the goal of making us into better consumers and continue to feed into the market economy. In this way, we increasingly see how stylised, simulated versions of people, places and situations are displacing organic reality and replacing it with a model of the real generated from ideas and that bears no relation with anything we can actually perceive.
As we progressively accept the simulation as real, for example by taking
social media images as the real thing or even better than the real thing, the
difference between model and copy, fake and real, organic and inorganic,
humans and things, collapses and clear distinctions can not longer be made, allowing us to experiment the fake as real and vice versa. But far from taking this as a sign of the triumph of the fake, artists and creatives are turning this break down of differences into a territory of possibility.
For this showcase, our line up of creatives are taking the concept of the
hyperreal as a starting point to question and destabilise totalising concepts such as identity, origin, truth, gender and other constructions. We are asking what are the possibilities of a reality that no longer has to adjust to the observable but that can be generated from the multiplicity of ways that we feel and think as individuals, and what this means for our own social realities. The hyperreal can introduce a playful aesthetic element into social and political discourses, breaking up rigid ways of being that respond more to the repetition of old patterns rather than to the inner lives of individuals.
The Authentic Fake is the culmination of a programme exploring the nature of reality. After looking into the way we receive and decipher sensorial
information in Decoding Sensations and diving into altered states of
consciousness with [IN]sane, we are turning our eyes to the world of
hyperreality. Join us in Amsterdam , London and Berlin for a programme
presenting visual art exhibition, live art presentations, talks, non-monetary
auctions and more, and discover how artists today are playing and
responding to the notion of the hyperreal.
This blog post is written by Jimena Mendizábal del Moral