Lecture Notes – Dan Smith

THE COPY 30/04/18

This lecture addresses the idea of the copy and simulation within art and contemporary culture. The copy will be explored in terms of uncertainty and the possibility of deception. The session will also be an opportunity to think about the copy and simulation in a positive light, as a way of thinking about how to make something new, when notions of originality and authenticity seem open to question.

  • KEY TEXT – Jean Baudrillard ‘precession of simulacra, simulation 1-42’ ((ART AFTER MODERNISM))




plural noun: simulacra

  1. an image or representation of someone or something.

“a small-scale simulacrum of a skyscraper”

  • an unsatisfactory imitation or substitute.

“a bland simulacrum of American soul music”

  • ‘Parrhaseus and Zheuxis’ – two famous painters in ancient Greece, each was at the pinnacle of his abilities, no one knew how to choose between them. They decided to resolve the issue with a “painting duel”.They assigned themselves two areas of a wall, each invisible from the other so that they might work in private. Zeuxis drew the curtain to reveal he had painted a bowl of fruit, whilst the audience was baffled – a bird flew down straight into the painted bowl of fruit, from which it had hoped to steal a grape. Hitting the wall with a smack, the bird fell to the ground, a victim of illusion. When Parrhaseus was asked to draw his curtain, the audience realised that he had painted a curtain. And so, it was clear who had won, because while Zeuxis had tricked a bird, Parrhaseus had not only managed to trick human beings, but his fellow-professional at that.
  • Appropriation/copy – a history of art practice – taking an original and making it something else (your own)
  • P L A T O ‘S C A V E ;;  In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato distinguishes between people who mistake sensory knowledge for the truth and people who really do see the truth. Smith says as humans our reality is all that we see from light and shadows in the cave. THE REAL IS SOMEWHERE ELSE
  • Durer’s rhinoceros – – he had never even seen a rhino. Europe followed his ‘armoured’ sketch. German textbooks printed the image as a source of education.
  • Eduoard manet a copy of life
  • The dog from Pompeii !!!!!
  • Allan McCollum, Charles Pers, Charles Ray, Sherrie Levine, Thomas Demand, Barbara Kruger
  • Francis Alys – SAINT FABIOLA
  • Anthropomorphic – Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. It is an innate tendency of human psychology.
  • The Matrix desert of the real
  • (Smith dislikes the selfish gene) – which interestingly sparked a discussion about memes/internet humour etc. The reason for this (as I interpreted it) is because a lot of viewers believed the selfish gene by Richard Dawkins to be something scientific. Something backed by facts, which as Smith explains – this is quite dangerous if seen by impressionable readers. The book is more a study of SOCIAL biology rather than “actual” biology

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