For students of information responsibility: an artist’s take on false memory syndrome, and a snarky project about concocting more glamorous identities for ourselves.
For Hopwood, examining the ways we deceive ourselves through memory is perhaps a natural progression. He has worked with fellow artists as part of the WITH Collective on projects that expose and poke fun at the many ways we style our public selves. “Identity is not fixed,” he says. Instead, it shifts depending on the company we are in, and even the format of the interaction - be it social media or in person.
We’re extraordinarily preoccupied with sculpting our identities, as the glut of self-help books and pseudoscientific methods for personal development demonstrates. Through the WITH Collective, Hopwood has pushed this to the preposterous in a series of whimsical, biting and often hilarious “solutions” offering people alternate realities to claim as their own. In these fictitious scenarios, people can avail themselves of “traumaformer” for example, a “product” that conjures up a more traumatic past for the purchaser, or shift the blame to someone else with “scapegoad”. For the sexually curious but timid, there’s also “homoflexible”: “We perform your fantasies/fears for you, as you, so you don’t have to,” the site boasts.
These past projects have all been gleefully tongue in cheek, “cheerful antagonism” as Hopwood describes it. Yet these satirical takes on modern living have been cast in new light as his understanding of memory has grown, and with it his fascination for false memory in particular.
To add your own false memories, go to falsememoryarchive.com.