Authenticity is often the coin of the realm in culture. An authentic singer on stage, genuine emotion poured into a painting, an authentic pair of Levi’s 501’s, or the power of “Real Life.”

But can authenticity be performed?
Is it ever NOT performed?

When the singer-songwriter stops a song after a few chords, tunes their guitar or tears off their denim jacket, and then starts to play again – so gritty – so real – so authentic — or did they perform the exact same gesture in 50 cities before they got to yours tonight?

Jack Pollock poured his guts onto that canvas like no one else before or since… then Bobby Rauschenberg made 2 paintings: Factum I & Factum II — they both contained all that spontaneous, expressive content that the heroic abstract expressionists were famous for… only Rauschenberg’s 2 paintings were identical – so, not spontaneous, but rather the form of authenticity, performed.

Then Andy Warhol raised inauthenticity, or “fakeness” to the highest artform.

The first love song was probably “real”… no matter how “real” it feels to the singer, can the millionth love song still be “authentic” and not “performative?” Maybe what’s fake is the self-illusion that some absolute real exists…

PS: Play all 10 videos at the same time!

postscript: 9 months later, 17 Oct 10: play all Seven videos, three have been “taken down by the user.” Hmm… wonder if those were more or less “authentic” than the others?

As a virtual public artist my work invites avatar communities to express their identity, explore their culture, and demand their civil rights.

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