Following the first issue on novelty, Critical Contemporary Culture’s second issue will explore the notion of fakeness in contemporary culture. Fakeness appears in many guises, most often in opposition with the authentic. Notions of authenticity, and consequently of fakeness, are implied and deployed in everyday culture and discourse.
So what is the experience of fakeness in the context of consumer culture? Goods and services such as designer clothing, the art market, musical taste, sports and management rely on the relational nexus of fakeness and authenticity. The desire for the authentic creates a spiral of frustration, as the drive to consume can never be satisfied. At the same time, the ‘prosumer,’ who is at once a target consumer and major capital producer, constantly renegotiates the value of the copy, the fake, the authentic and the original. The expansion of information technologies has brought to the fore the fluidity of culture that allows space to analyse the socially constructed binary of fakeness/authenticity.
Race and gender enter into discussions of fakeness a priori—in other words, there is no discussion of fakeness or authenticity that can be conducted completely apart from what is sometimes scornfully called “identity politics.” We value gender constitution, national belonging, immigration, class, race, and ethnicity as indispensable optics through which authenticity and fakeness are viewed. Can the performativity of ‘fakeness’ allow the Self to come close to the Other? This discussion surely leads into the question of the representation of ‘weakened’ Subjects and groups.
Digital reproduction and ‘new’ media integration claim to empower communities and audiences, aiming towards personal and fragmented truths. In this line, where the grand narrative is being disrupted, questions of the existence of authentic representations arise. Parallel to this, are definitions of authenticity/fakeness still valid in the context of artistic and aesthetic production? If so, how does that differentiate and elaborate across the various art forms? An interesting interaction also may occur with the buzzing, problematic notion of creativity and innovation.
Fakeness is generally perceived as a negative value, a negation of value. Is it possible, however, to view authenticity with the scepticism normally reserved for the fake? Can the notion of fakeness allow a re-orientation of authenticity as something other than originality, natural beauty, justice, or truth? If authenticity is actually an essentialist and exclusionary category owned by the few and desired by the many, can attention to fakeness teach us something about the nature of social struggle in our times? Can fakeness support the possibility of a more democratic system of ownership in which everyone can be fulfilled.
Critical Contemporary Culture is designed to bring together students, from the humanities and social sciences,with cultural practitioners to create a dialogue about what culture is. For this issue we particularly welcome essays, art works, narratives and any medium of communication that address the question of fakeness.
For written work, initial submissions should be made in the form of a 300-500 word abstract. Artworks or proposal for an artist’s project should comprise a one-page written description and up to ten sample images. If an original artwork for CCC is proposed, samples of comparable work should be submitted. Details of medium and format should also be included, along with complete caption information.
These should be submitted by Friday, June 25th 2012, noon.
Full papers or art works will be expected by Friday 7th September 2012.
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