There is something perversely appealing about a Truman Show, like fiction engineered around you: a false, but plausible reality in which the inconsequence of your actions invites you to attempt daring play. But in order to maintain such a world, you must remain trapped in it, suffer under its direction and pretend to believe it is real.
In this paper I will discuss three examples of participative works that are related in their dictatorial control and perceived captivity of their participants as well as by their blurring of traditional distinctions of art, reality and fiction. Tracing the emergence of this strain of participative works’ from conceptual art, performative practices and relational aesthetics from the last century, as well as their relation to noir cinema from the late 1990’s, I will tackle the ethics of these antagonistic experiences that deliberately blur distinctions of reality in public places. Central to this paper is my contention that these works do not generate adverse or enduring ontological confusion in participants, but instead, they encourage individuals to exercise critical judgment towards all mediated information.
- Hugh Davies Monash University, Australian Network for Art and Technology
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