Revelatory: revealing something otherwise unknown | Fake: a thing that is not genuine; a forgery or sham
MoRF is a collaboration between sociologist Professor Patricia Kingori (University of Oxford) and artist Al Hopwood. The duo first met at a workshop a month before the first UK lockdown, and they soon realised they had a shared fascination in the impact of 'the fake' from a psychological and sociological perspective. MoRF is their first attempt to represent those shared interests through a project that is idiosyncratic and collaborative. The museum will feature case studies, archival materials, creative responses from Hopwood, and a new series of podcasts from Kingori.
In response to the growth of political populism and the global pandemic, there has been a kickback against the use of fakery in the public realm. The negative impacts of lying, fake news, conspiracy theories, online fraud and health misinformation have been well documented and high-profile campaigns are now targeting their pervasive influence.
In the rush however to formulate countermeasures, do we risk missing the benefits of really scrutinising the original fake? Will we accidentally overlook effective engagement strategies that use fakery? Furthermore, can deception and fakery itself be used to reveal the truth about fakes? If so, what are the ethical challenges of using such approaches?
Beyond the digital ‘truth wars’ it’s been a period of reflection for anyone who has used deception or fakery as a mode of creative expression, as an activist / journalistic strategy or as part of a medical / scientific experiment - many are wondering if it’s now time to abandon ‘the fake’ in our search for the truth about our contemporary moment. In our so-called post-truth age is it possible to agree on what constitutes a good and bad fake? Is an ethical form of deceptive practice possible?
Fakes are not a new part of everyday life, but what is new is the speed at which they can be created, consumed, believed and through technology, travel large distances. MoRF takes this predicament as a starting point to explore the use-value and future of fakery through a curated selection of case studies, artworks and historical objects. It asks what we can learn from the fake in public life, how we can meaningfully understand its impact and if there is ever an ethical justification for its use.