FRANCESCA GAVIN Can you introduce the project Excellences & Perfections in greater detail?
AMALIA ULMAN Excellences & Perfections developed from a video for MOCA TV, which attempted to fully immerse in screen reality by fabricating a fictional character in three different episodes. The idea was to bring fiction to a platform that has been designed for supposedly “authentic“ behavior, interactions and content. The intention was to prove how easy an audience can be manipulated through the use of mainstream archetypes and characters they’ve seen before. The performance on Facebook combined photographs from the Instagram account, appropriated statements, status updates, music videos from YouTube. The process was slow. Repetition was the key for credibility.
FG What were your working methods?
AU I’d take three days off each week to get into character and produce a bunch of images that the script would require—keeping them in a folder waiting to be uploaded when necessary. These images were complemented with found material, for which I would use the same Instagram filter as the ones taken by myself, to create an illusion of continuity.
FG What kind of feedback did you get?
AU Mostly, the criticism is that I have depicted archetypes that should be destroyed rather than perpetuated. The idea was precisely to use the most mainstream archetypes, generally attributed to a 25-year-old girl, to show their construction: how these are not natural ideas and patterns of behavior but something acquired, and therefore, exchangeable.