Serpentine Gallery 7 Sep 2012 Free

For his Park Night, artist Ed Fornieles (b.1983, UK) hosted The Dreamy Awards, an award ceremony initiated to recognise the individuals and institutions that are helping shape our current cultural and technological landscape.

The evening investigated the award ceremony as a cultural phenomenon, the purpose of such rituals and the characters and narratives that surround it. Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron, along with five others who have helped define our current moment and will help form the next, received awards throughout the evening. The Dreamy winners represented the worlds of music, television, film, politics, business and technology.

Fornieles’ performance, a special commission for the Serpentine Gallery, augmented the format of a conventional award ceremony to create a surreal and immersive participatory experience. Each audience member was given a new identity for the evening, making them contributors from the moment they purchase a ticket. Subsequent to either a briefing session or phone conversation with the artist in advance of the event, participants were encouraged to embody and enact their new identities throughout the ceremony.

The Dreamy Awards maintained the artist’s interest in the construction of character. This focus is made manifest in Fornieles’ previous work, including Dorm Daze (2011), a Facebook sitcom he directed based on the contemporary American college moment as it exists on social media. At the ceremony, characters ranged from princess to tech legend; from political spin-doctor to celebrity DJ. The interconnectedness of this fictional network was revealed on the night through suggested interactions and directed plot lines. The award ceremony fostered an environment where people feel able and willing to perform a character that acts and communicates in a different way to their own. Public figures mingled with the artist’s extended collaborative network and members of the public, creating a three-tiered micro-society where equality was forged through the unifying, collective act of adopting a new character and sense of self. This inclusive atmosphere revealed both the artist’s and the audience’s fantasies.

This participatory performance took place in the evening of Friday 7th September in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012, designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei. The film of the event was made into an artwork that appeared on The Space, a new free digital arts initiative developed by Arts Council England in partnership with the BBC.

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