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A Re-Appropriation of an Appropriated Deception of a Deception of a Deception Exhibition

In April a group of young artists got together and decided to take their 'careers' into their own hands and did a collaborative project.

I say young artists, I mean aspiring artists aka art students. And I was one of them.

We got some sponsorship together, hired a real gallery space in the heart of Sheffield's art scene (Sheffield's answer to Chelsea in NYC or Vyner St London) and went out to fool the community.

Thinking about it now, there could have been room for so much more. And although deliberately confusing our audience was the main part of the art and curation of the space, I believe that we could have still made it confusingly accessible instead of just plain confusing.
Some, like myself, could have another perception onto the confusia, which would be that the exhibition itself is a comment on the artworld. Meaning, you need a damn academic degree in art to even understand the majority of art pieces these days. And if not, then it's just that annoying Neo-Formalism shizzle that artists just do because it's hot right now and its colourful and cheap to do.
No heart in the game. It reminds me messed up version of Relational Aesethetics.







Anyways: This is the speech we did to "reveal" our exhibition at a public symposium in the End Gallery, Sheffield uk in May.

Until now, we have deliberately remained silent about our project. In the module seminars we avoided all questions, creating a frustrating mystique around our group. We deflected any encouragement to share ideas by letting slip certain ambiguous details to the rest of the class, such as, 'it's about blimps,' 'Gene Kelly' or 'architectural deception.' These details were not irrelevant yet they made it difficult for anyone to pin down a solid relation or meaning to we what we were doing. Each week our group would sit and discuss our ideas and would bring a new title which summed up our thoughts or direction. In the final exhibition these titles, eighteen in total, were documented as A4 posters along the right hand side wall. In the exhibition we again had to remain quiet, politely refraining to answer any questions raised (albeit with great difficulty!). Our campaign of wilful silence and deliberate obfuscation has become a performance. However, this performance will now conclude as we reveal all.

First I want to tell you a story. Once upon a time, five fearless fine art students set out to make something miraculous, something that would make people gaze in disbelief. On the 28th of March, 2008 these brave young adults travelled to a remote location in the Peak District, called Offerton Moor. As the sun set around six o' clock they toiled quickly and stealthily to erect a solid pine structure measuring 7 ft by 14ft by 7ft. Upon this structure they hung 14 halogen lights bearing the strength of 60-120 watts, powered by a generator. At approximately19:00hrs, as dusk descended rapidly, they turned on the lights, generating a bright bold light that sliced through the wild darkness.

In the valley beneath, familiar eyes were stunned to see the lights of anew village twinkling, where before there was only the wild rolling moor. More onlookers gathered, scratching their heads in bewilderment,all of them too afraid to approach the spectral lights. At 23.00hrs the lights disappeared once more into the darkness, never to be seen again.

On the 1st of April, April Fools Day, we opened an exhibition at Sylvester Space at 6.30pm. In this space we documented our research and the event which this led to in the space. The documentation of the research came in various forms including sound and video work, large A0 and smallerA4 posters, an enlarged A0 photograph of the lights on the moor, a table covered with our working drawings and diagrams, reading material, photographs and finally the wooden structure itself, which was situated by the door as you first enter the space. We also printed one hundred catalogues on tracing paper which we displayed in the space, each at the price of £1.00. The exhibition was open from Tuesday the 1st until the 7th of April.

The content of the exhibition plays the role of the unseen, and the informant, following this appearing on the table is an archive. One that acts as an open vault plays upon and within the role of information. A viable discourse, a tool for formation and formatting, a currency, the execution of information, this is a viable, the idea of communication, representation, divulging, involving, disordering, reordering, instruction, meaning, knowledge. And ultimately the gift of information.

The use of information is then to divulge willingly or unwillingly. The exhibition acts to inform but not to disclose, not to deliver, a constraint. An enigma. This is also the role of the few involved the few with information, with power. What is said explains nothing, a non, the work held before within the exhibition fails to inform, the information is sparse, the information concerns everything apart from the pinning down, an expiation which is never finished. A deliberated efensive tactic for betrayal. This said, the information presented is still information, information can be little, sparse, a flash light, an observation, reading or measurement. Information can be as little as the dust left on the mantle piece. The light on top of the moor.

It is to the viewer to interpret the information, the material is a play on clarity, the man from behind the curtain. Take of this information what you will. What is not said creates suggestion, everything suggests, a glance at the truth, a barrier to what is entangled, what is then the other wants to discuss. The exhibition falls then to theshrouded. The everything which is present. What is derived at, or what the viewer does not derive at, all creates intrigue, the veil is always present to be look behind, to look beyond.

Consider the play of information throughout and within political concern, termed limitedhang out. By withholding the key facts a deeper crime is then played out within the decoy object, a façade within the information.

Just like the anglerfish toying with it's prey, just like the wreckers and smugglers luring unwitting ships towards the impending doom, the trap was baited with the unknown and the promise of clarity.

The clues were all there; nothing was hidden from the viewer, only the answers they desired. We were asked for these answers but we had none, or at best inconsistent ones. After all how does one give the desired answers without revealing too much, without dispelling the allusion? Had we left Brigadoon it would simply have ceased to exist. In the same way had we been forced to remove ourselves from our own deception there was always the chance that our work, along with us, would have disappeared back into the mist.

Though some may only have possessed a void where they desired answers, this cannot be said for all. A deception does not work simply through a complete lack of communication; it is densely layered with misinformation and misdirection. While one viewer may admit to knowing entirely nothing, another may believe that they have discovered the truth or perhaps that they already possessed it. In reality all they have is a snippet of misinformation, a misdirection to content their gaze.

Somewhere in this torrent of information there is of course the element of truth, after all no deception can work without the possibility of plausibility. Though what happens when all the required plausible elements are laid out in front of the viewer? When everything seems to be there, the light of salvation emanating from the shoreline, do we head towards it? Perhaps instead we step back, examining for a moment all that we see. We must remind ourselves that seeing should not always be the only factor in believing, especially when deception has been paramount from the outset.

Then we see that, of course, no hills were climbed and no lights were ever shone. The structure merely served its purpose, as it had always been intended, solely in the gallery space and not on some peak overlooking Offerton Moore.

We are, both as artists and audience, simultaneously the deceived and the deceiving. You are witnessing not only just an attempt of deception butare a part of the recreation of a re-enactment of real, truthful events.

It seemed to us that the logical conclusion of our original idea was that the proposed deception should be extended, thatthe depiction of deception should be a deception itself.

Importantly, the only dishonesty that we allowed in the exhibition was the poster of an event that stated a structure that had lights on was put up on a Friday in March, but even then we are still reluctant to say that it was we, as a collective group, that did this. Lights on the moor have happened many times before. Most famously as a decoy for Sheffield inthe war to stop the steelworks and residents from being bombed. These decoys where called Starfish Sites that would consist of structures with lights and candles on to look like glowing steel works.

Interested in the idea of how architecture can have uncanny countenances and stand for symbolic gestures that dominate and help form facades of our own reality; we played with the contexts of this ideology starting with the fake Sheffield as our opening platform.

Exploring an area that at first seems to be familiar we reveal lots of things. We can think of Brigadoon and can look to other material such as smugglers and the hexagons of text which contained extracts from Ron Rosenbaum's(Rosen Bowm)“Explaining Hitler” addressing Dollersheim (Dollers Highm),Hitler's birthplace which was erased from maps of Austria under Nazirule; another disappearing village, but in very different circumstances.

All the work within our exhibition continued this notion of projection, deception and most importantly suggestion just as our society does. Each of us individually provides the market and demand for illusions that fool our experiences and existence. We want and believe these experiences. We expect the contradictory and the impossible. Modern life is that we have lost our own refuge. No longer do we move through space as we once did. With this, there is a complexity that comes from taking on an otherwise completely normal conventional situation and redefining it, translating it into an experience.

We have created a cloud of information, a mist, a blizzard that obscured the work, but is symbolic just like every piece within the exhibition.
It comes together to create a constructed dialogue of unarticulated perspectives and voices in order to construct a picture of architecture and landscapes as indeterminate and contested. Proving only further that we are all at once deceiving but also being deceived, all the more.

We didn't set up our deceiving structure. The work necessitated this deception, an extension of the structure itself; the deception is not only demonstrated to a viewer but enacted upon them as well. However, the purpose of this deception is not to deceive, at least not entirely, at least not authentically. Rather, deception, suggestion, revelation and obfuscation are tools of a larger purpose.
The eye imposes logic, a desire to see. A town appears because the viewer wants to see it; it becomes a question of projection rather than any innate content. When presented with such loci, such points of information, a viewer connects them and creates a narrative; he can institute buildings, lampposts, a homestead, an activity behind what he sees, an active mind. The same is true of a work of art, which is a channel for interpretation and a screen for projection.
For our part, we are exploitative. We attempt to make use of this, to create an a cloud of confusion, to refract the light, the beams of interrogation, to leave it unclear. We hope to make the ground under the viewers feet uncertain. The work lies in the proliferation of objects, information, resources; a network of references that elucidate and betray their subject, that support and skirt around it. The exhibition acts as an immersion in this atmosphere, one which explains our intentions but offers no clues as to how this explanation should be deciphered.
We were presented with many responses by those who saw the work; some accepted our proposition, some doubted it, some told us they had us figured out and sited imagined or inaccurate evidence to support their claims.
Though a lie, a fairly solid deception, is the seed of this exhibition, whether it is successful or not is circumstantial. It is a component of a greater scheme of misdirection, an attempt to provoke the interpretive faculties used in the viewing of a work of art and reveal something of their nature. We offer no answers; they can only come from the viewer, and as such do not exist.
However, now we contradict ourselves, as all deceivers eventually do, (and perhaps our concept even obliges it). We offer this presentation as a moment of clarity, a time when the fog clears, when all questions will be answered to the best of our ability. Whether any of you take this opportunity is up to you, but the floor is now open to the potential of transparency.

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I think you are a lying ch------
and you cant convince me to change my mind
and its a total contradiction
i understand it to be a 2-in-1 thing aka 0-in-1
i cant take nothingness seriously which is totally contradictory to unknownness or somethingness, both of which i accept. this all however may still be a deception which is also true.
best :)

the Other side

best wishes from the f_______ other side.


a space with more than 3 dimension is possible: