Al Hopwood has created the Museum of Revelatory Fakes (MoRF) with the brilliant sociologist Patricia Kingori who is Professor in Global Health Ethics at Ethox, University of Oxford. The museum's website launched in April 2023 with a series of historical and contemporary case studies that explore the concept of the revelatory fake. Please see below more information about the project and feel free to contact us for more details.
Fakes are often considered worthless, but what if we could gain value from looking at what they reveal? MoRF is a collaborative space where fakes will be scrutinised, mulled over and learnt from, to see if they can morph into objects of social and creative value.
In response to the growth of political populism and the global pandemic, there has been a kickback against the use of fakery in the public realm. The negative impacts of lying, fake news, conspiracy theories, online fraud and health misinformation have been well documented and high-profile campaigns are now targeting their pervasive influence.
The quest to counter lies and to establish truth-telling has in the main been led by activists and more recently by digital platforms that have in the past been guilty of disseminating fakes. In the rush to formulate countermeasures, do we risk missing the benefits of really scrutinising the original fake? Will we accidentally overlook effective engagement strategies that use fakery? Furthermore, can deception and fakery itself be used to reveal the truth about fakes? If so, what are the ethical challenges of using such approaches?
Beyond the digital ‘truth wars’ it’s been a period of reflection for anyone who has used deception or fakery as a mode of creative expression, as an activist / journalistic strategy or as part of a medical / scientific experiment - many are wondering if it’s now time to abandon ‘the fake’ in our search for the truth about our contemporary moment. In our so-called misinformation age is it possible to agree on what constitutes a good and bad fake? Is an ethical form of deceptive practice possible?
Fakes are not a new part of everyday life, but what is new is the speed at which they can be created, consumed, believed and through technology, travel large distances. MoRF takes this predicament as a starting point to explore the use-value and future of fakery through a curated selection of case studies, artworks and historical objects. It asks what we can learn from the fake in public life, how we can meaningfully understand its impact and if there is ever an ethical justification for its use.