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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About

Project 12 Spring 2012

Counterfactual Identity


The Scoop on P12:

About “Fake” and “Real”:

Fake / Real / Identity / Desire / Longing / Gender Roles / all of it…

Here’s a really nice “Counterfactual History” video by Sascha Pohflepp. He considers a counterfactual America where Ronald Reagan doesn’t become president and Jimmy Carter wins a second term. If you recall your history, Reagan was a very fossil fuels president and Carter was a very alternative energy president. Carter put solar panels on the roof of the White House, Reagan took them off. Carter created the department of Energy; Reagan slashed DOE’s budget by 90%. In this Counterfactual History video we see the Golden Institute, a real institute in Colorado, but as it might have been with an unreal level of funding akin to the Rand Corporation Think Tank.

Jon Stewart – America’s most trusted journalist – where “fake” and “real” collide!
Jon Stewart: The Most Trusted Name In Fake News

The Project

Create Identity
In the Mixed Reality hybrid we live our lives in today, Identity Narratives are constructed by weaving content in the physical world and virtual content in complex and occasionally glorious tapestries. In this project you can hop-scotch across the ‘net creating pages and virtual breadcrumbs… and weaving, a RICH, COMPLEX Identity Narrative across these spaces.

“Make up” all the stuff you like… but try to make as compellingly “Real” a persona as you can in the process. Love and Hate. Poetry and Brutality. Your deepest secret fears. Your wildest, improbable dreams. Can you weave an identity that is more real than reality??

Pick a Name
Help Generating Names:
(MyHeritage’s purpose is to research “real” family names, but if you type in a “fake” last name, it will give you a list of similar “real” last names… it’s an interesting way to generate names, and you might find yourself unexpectedly drawn to the ring of one ethnic surname or another.

Sketch Details
Now that you’ve got a name:
• Sketch out a **Profile** for your new persona
• To help in the creation of your counterfactual life narrative, you might use Christophe Bruno’s “Life Generator”
• Open an Email account for them.

Work the Net (you can also have them join the Art110 Facebook group if you like) (diaspora’s currently in closed beta, but I can invite anyone who gives me their CF-ID’s email)

If you’d like your character to start a blog:

Or a micro-blog:

About Logins
Now that you have 2 emails, 2 Facebooks, 2 blogs, etc… you might notice that signing in and out is kind of a pain. There’s two solutions to this. One is to do the Sean Penn thing – BE your character! So for that week just let that other person go… hence no signing in and out required.

The second is to use a different browser for each identity, so you might use Chrome for your “normal” identity and Safari for your counterfactual identity. That way you can stay logged in in each browser and skip the repeated logins.

Interview Yourself
Remember the last chapeter in Eva & Franco’s book: Flogging a Dead Horse – at the end a tiny note says that it wasn’t a “real” Maurizio Cattelan interview, but they stole the questions from a Cattelan interview (thus critiquing the whole art interview trope! 🙂

Now you can steal the questions from this, or any other interview you like and answer them yourself. Imagine, your chance to be interviewed by your favorite celebrity journalist!

XtraNormal Video
Pair up with any other 9a or 11a student & make a video of the 2 of you at:
* (post to YouTube / embed on Tumblr)

Help Sheet

Your character could go virtual and have their own Second Life account… or…

Examples From The Past

After having spent the week in another identity’s shoes, talk about what it was like? what are your thoughts on social media? can a person exist only on the internet? Think about the secondlife artists. They too might be counterfactual identities but behind them is a “real” person.

Be sure to also talk about the Tuesday Lecture & the Thursday VR-IP presentations.

As always, you “turn in” your work on tumblr. Since this project involves various websites, you can include URL’s, but BE SURE to also include SCREENSHOTS of your Counterfactual Identity’s Facebook, Blog, and other web presences.

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