Previously at the ICA - Events

Onkar Kular & Noam Toran, I Cling to Virtue

Authenticity & 'Real'? Bodies

8 Nov 2014

Featuring interactive performance lectures, screenings and debate, this dynamic half-day symposium examines the integration of the digital in the construction of the ‘self’, asking how this has complicated our experience of material reality. With the merging of the ‘real’ with the virtual on and off-line, ‘play’ with the creation of multiple ‘selves’ is now commonplace. This offers limitless opportunities for impersonation, deception and fakery; useful tools for political counter-strategies, but also the roots for anxieties regarding loss of control over issues of ‘real’ identity. So what are the implications for the material realities of the body in the mangled and mutable unreal ‘real’ of the virtual, digital realm?

Featuring presentations from Dr Shehnaz Suterwalla, Noam Toran, Onkar Kular, Ben Dalton and Leslie Kulesh, participants use the term ‘authenticity’ as a prism through which to explore and challenge questions regarding impersonation, politics and gendered resistance, addressing the question of whether the faked, forged, inauthentic multitude-identities afforded by the digital era are a cause for panic, or a point of potential?

Authenticity & ‘Real’? Bodies is presented in collaboration with Shehnaz Suterwalla and the Royal College of Art, London

Dr Shehnaz Suterwalla is a tutor in History of Design at the Royal College of Art. Her research interests focus on subcultural and alternative dress styles since the 1970s as forms of women’s resistance to conventional femininity, with a focus on how women use their bodies to subvert ideals. These are themes that she also explored when she worked, for a number of years, as a journalist, at Newsweek International and then at The Economist. More recently Shehnaz has published essays in Global Design History (Routledge, 2011), Oral History in the Visual Arts (Bloomsbury, 2013) and has contributed an article in a special issue about fashion of the peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal Women's Studies Quarterly. She has presented widely at conferences and symposia, including The Postmodern Legacy (V&A, 2011) and the Design History Annual Conference (Ahmadabad, India, September 2013). Shehnaz is preparing a monograph which will be published by Bloomsbury in 2016.

The work of artist Noam Toran (b. 1975, Las Cruces, New Mexico) involves the creation of intricate narratives developed as a means to reflect upon the interrelations of history, cinema, literature, and memory. The works are most often exhibited as sculptures, films and installations. His practice primarily examines how fictions influence the collective consciousness, be it as history, myth or memory forming. This is realised through an original way of deconstructing and reconfiguring cinematic and literary codes, conventions and structures, and weaving them with historical materials, thereby complicating the relation between artifact and artifice.

Artist Onkar Kular investigates how contemporary design practice - its processes, methodologies and outputs - can be used as a medium to engage with and question understanding of cultural and popular issues. His work uses a range of different media, appropriate to the particular research project to include new objects, films, events, performances and installations. His work is disseminated internationally through exhibitions, workshops, lectures, film festivals and publications.

Ben Dalton is currently investigating the theme of 'design for digital pseudonymity' at the Royal College of Art, London. Ben is a Principal Lecturer in the Faculty of Art, Environment & Technology at Leeds Metropolitan University, and is on sabbatical to undertake PhD research in to Digital Public Space as part of the AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council UK) funded Creative Exchange project. Ben has recently shown work, given talks and run workshops on themes of digital identity performance and control, including at FACT Liverpool, RCA London, FutureEverything Manchester, Today's Art The Hague, Berghs Stockholm, Abandon Normal Devices Liverpool, WWW2013 Rio de Janeiro, Sensuous Knowledge Bergen, and DIS Newcastle. Ben has a background in ubiquitous computing and mobile sensor networks from the MIT Media Lab, and has conducted research in the Århus University Electron-Molecular Interaction group, University of Leeds Spintronics and Magnetic Nanostructures lab, and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, London.

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