Brighton, May 2006
So where was Steve DT's exhibition for the Brighton Festival Fringe? We looked high and low ... well, it was certainly different. This exhibition / project did play fast and loose with the truth. A piece of fiction that tip-toed over hot coals.
'Rabid Curiosity' had been an idea germinating within me for a couple of years. I had wanted to create an exhibition that mixed reality and illusion. A series of fotos whose meaning could be corrupted by the very text placed next to each foto and thereby, creating another less reliable/truthful story (one might say . . . just an everyday occurrence in the daily newspapers, regardless of the reasons given by those who could stop this slant of the truth).
As for the topic! It seemed possible that a documentary record involving a clash between religion and eroticism would provide the necessary spark. But how to portray this successfully was always going to be the problem.
The answer arrived just before Christmas 2005. A mutual friend had suggested me to a University researcher as a likely conspirator. as he/she was working on a project investigating ‘Gullibility within the Public at Large’. They told me that the project had been in existence for a while, but would only give me one other example, that of a similar non-existent exhibition at another large festival, which had provided some interesting results. It seems that exhibitions was only one of the many areas being researched, but they wouldn’t give me any other specifics for fear of too much attention being drawn to the research.
Originally I thought this was an absurd idea, but after several discussions on the topic, I began to realise that I had the perfect project up my sleeve. And the more I thought of it, the more it occurred to me that an exhibition based on the illusion didn’t necessarily have to exist. So it began: it was strange to go through the actions of staging an exhibtion, from finding the venue to promo mail outs, and not have anything to show either at the venue or online. Of course, the Kasbah Coffee shop was a Steve DT illusion (and strangely enough, it was listed in the Fringe brochure as Venue Nº.101). [Press Release]
I've been told the research is still ongoing, and he/she wouldn't say what was the possible end date. However I was allowed to discuss my part after my event had ‘closed’.
Finally, apologies to the Dominican Republic for this character slur of a lap dancing club on church property (in another world, you couldn't make it up). And for anyone who came to see the non-existant exhibition, and only saw the sign shown below. It was worth it. Just don’t believe everything you read. And by the way; thank you for your interest, your presence . . .
POST SCRIPT: The University Report was finally published in 2009