FAKE is the new exhibition in Science Gallery Dublin that asks if life is better when we embrace the artificial. Here at the shop, we've put together a collection of products that are inspired by the exhibition.
One of the major talking points of the past year has, of course, been fake information - from fake news to junk science how do we distinguish between fact and fiction? Any intelligent person knows that you can’t always believe what you read or see on (or off) the Internet - it's practically built of fake photoshopped images and now, with the help of artificial intelligence, we might be facing the prospect of an explosion of fake news videos too.
Synthesising Obama is a manipulated video of the former U.S. president. It uses artificial intelligence to analyse past footage and audio clips to generate a highly realistic video of Obama lip-synced to a speech he never made. It's really convincing and will leave you questioning what’s real and what’s not, and wondering how it was done. We have a selection of books exploring fake news but my favourite has to be Newsageddon by the Irish satirical news website Waterford Whispers. Despite its overtly satirical tone the publication has regularly fooled readers and even been mistaken as ‘real’ news. This is a collection of their very best stories from 2017, the year the world went mad, as they say themselves. It is a hilarious read, packed with all your need to know about the current state of the world.
The Art of Deception is a collection of manipulated animal hearts using a process of decellularisation. This technique has incredible potential for the future of organ transplants but the artist, Isaac Monte, also explores the artistic possibilities of the technique.
These are incredible and the accompanying catalogue is fascinating. When we saw these chocolate creations by Sarah Hardy (The Edible Museum), we couldn't resist! Not for the faint-hearted, these Human Hearts may look like something from a horror film, but in actual fact are handmade from premium Belgian chocolate. These anatomically correct chocolate hearts make the ultimate gift for cardiologists, surgeons, or anyone with an appreciation of the macabre.
Still Life: Flowers in an Urn is a real fake, a real painting by a real unknown artist but turned into a fake by an unscrupulous owner. The real signature was removed and a real artists fake name and date added and to enhance the forgery, the painting was rehoused in an original frame that possibly contained a real painting by the fake real artist - confused yet? Ask one of the Science Gallery mediators!
Most people look at art forgery as a nonthreatening and victim-less crime or maybe as it only effects the very rich, we think they deserve to have the wool pulled over their eyes. Forgers tend to be seen as skillful rapscallions, part-illusionists, part-practical jokers, the ones who point out that the emperor (in this case, the art world) wears no clothes. The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of the Master Forgers is a fascinating study of the history and psychology of art forgers. (Also check out the Beltracchi documentary on Netflix, it's unbelievable!)
Of course some of the biggest fakes and cheats are in the animal kingdom - camoflague, mimicry and trickery - they all do what they can to survive. There are a few pieces in the exhibition that explore how animals disguise themselves but my favourite is Faux Frogs where scientists made fake frogs to lure females in order to study them! Well, if they fool real frogs then they got me - these look like they're about to leap out of the display!
Let's face it, our fake frogs aren't going to fool any reptiles or humans but they are a lot of fun - great to squeeze and work out any stress - just think of whatever is bugging you and feel it toad-ally disappear!
I hope you walk away from this exhibition like I did - not drowning in fake news, feeling that nothing is real and everything is terrible - rather with a greater appreciation of the copy, the imitation, the synthetic, and thinking maybe alternatives can be better than the real deal.
Keep it real but give FAKE a chance!