Saturday, March 28, 2009

Joining the land of the blog

I'm in the process of examining the kind of work I want to do and there are 2 underlying themes: screaming queer and social engagement. There are a few things that I want to achieve with this blog:

1. Exploring some ideas around the collision of camp and simulacra.
2. Discussion about the world of Social Practice.
3. Posting some of my art work in progress for affirmations and feedback.

I’ll be posting info and examples that’ll clarify some of the language I’m using here.

Each week or so I’ll post an example of Camp Simulacra and Social Practice. I would love any discussion, dorking out, recommendations of readings, revelations and sparks flying over this stuff. I’ll post my own work as it happens and I definitely want your comments.


Simulacra is a particular form of reproduction that results in climax & effigy. There’s a lot out there about either concept. But here is 1 of the key connections I’m making: rather than rejecting binaries and socialised norms by attempting to create cultures/identities that are a slate wiped clean of socialization, camp appropriates and plays with the very restraints camp rejects to disassemble the conventions they intend.

It places those restraints in contexts that render them void. High camp = fierce intervention. I'll be posting some writing and examples of artwork that clarifies & achieves the effigy/climax.

Then, this beautiful thing happens:

Jean Baudrillard argues that a simulacrum is not just a perverted reproduction of the real, but that the embodiment of it makes it a truth in its own right.

So, all this talk about camp is, for me about 2 things: understanding the potential of camp as a political force and appreciating the ways it exists in my subcultures/communities – as our own aesthetic and expression of identity. Channeling camp tradition.

Romantic, I know. But then so is the nature of camp.

Now I know you all are cynically thinking about politically vapid or conservative examples of camp (Mardi Gras Nations United, EG NO.1!) but I want to talk here about the process and examples of camp with radical intention.

Camp Simulacra eg. 1:


This is where you & me as artist and you & me as community builders can maybe make some magic. Where, as an organizer/community participant you don’t lose yourself as an artist. The two become inseparable and the union of the two becomes intentional.

One definition of ‘Social Practitioner’ has been coined as: social documentarian with agency. Social change is understood to be a continuous and creative process, never A to B. It’s definitely about art of everyday life.

So now there’s been a term coined and a bunch of theory written, maybe we can develop a language around this and strategise ways to use the principles more intentionally with our projects.

Social Practice link no. 1: (some background)

MFA in Social Practice

Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in this stuff, talk to me!


  1. Hi Warren
    collision of camp and simulacra and Social Practice, sound complex, are you talking about documenting and recording or capturing ordinary camp behavours that people do and of wich there is a history of challenging chalanging and changing binary s or behaviuors. I do like the feel of were your going and can see the potential for such work to enlighten the community, thanks for sharing, I would like to learn mor about how to contribute

  2. I guess I'm doing both: the inherent subversion that camp IS. and looking into folks/performers/artists that use camp in an obviously subversive way.

    eg. divine (in the clip) is inherently subversive herself. her persona, image, the films & music she makes - but who knows if she does this with intention? regardless of intention she is still subversive. however, when she covers 'walk like a man', it is a very deliberate act of undermining the traditions of masculinity.