The Dreamy Awards is the latest immersive happening by artist-provocateur Ed Fornieles. Taking place this evening as part of the Serpentine’s Park Night series...
The Dreamy Awards is the latest immersive happening by artist-provocateur Ed Fornieles. Taking place this evening as part of the Serpentine’s Park Night series, the awards were initiated to recognise "those individuals and institutions that are helping to shape our current cultural and technological landscape". As with Forniele’s previous work, every attendee will adopt a character, becoming an active player, generating endless narratives, participating in and informing the amorphous landscape of the event. Here AnOther asks Fornieles to expand on his unconventional use of the award ceremony formula.
Where did the idea for the Dreamy Awards come from?
I suppose it all started with a project called The Animal House where participants were given roles to play based on American college kids profiles that I found on Facebook. Throughout the evening people played out those roles that were based around American College culture and a lot of scenes from films. Then that started a thing called Dorm Daze, a semi scripted performance conducted on a self-contained network on Facebook, where again participants inhabited profiles taken from real American college students.
Why was an Awards Ceremony the right format to explore these ideas further?
I am interested in celebrations because I think they reveal the priorities of the people doing the celebrating. I was interested in the awards ceremony as self-affirming, where everybody feels legitimized by being there and supporting each other. I recently went to the Lovie Awards - it’s a tech awards – and it was beautiful! I think the tech world is weirdly the most optimistic world; it seems weirdly evangelically buoyant. So I suppose it’s partly me trying to recreate some of that sentiment.
The Dreamy Awards are in recognition of individuals and institutions that are shaping the current cultural and technological landscape. It’s an enormous remit, why did you choose that as the focus of the awards?
I chose it because it was slightly ridiculous, it didn’t mean anything. The real reason why many of those people are winning those awards is because I like them, and they are key to the way I operate, and the way that I make work.
Awards ceremonies tend to at least infer some kind of impartiality in the judging process, but in this case it’s entirely biased. You are omnipotent…!
A lot of them are just marketing tools, selling more products but I kind of like it. I even went to university with one of the people receiving an award, I like that kind of nepotistic element to the whole thing.
Yet whilst being undemocratic, you are also entirely inclusive. Why is it important to you that everyone attending participate?
I like that openness to it and I guess I like the lack of control. The performance always generates a massive wealth of information and material that I can then create stuff out of.
How directed will the public be in their characters? How’s it going to work?
Of the people attending the awards - about 30% will be ‘real’ people from the worlds of music, technology, advertising, film, TV, politics and the rest of the people will be ‘characters’ that I have created from those worlds played by the public. Everyone will be given plot points and will interact with each other. Even the people who are real have been told to play very heightened versions of themselves. There will be two or three directing characters going around and saying maybe you should talk to this person, maybe you should talk to that person like this, maybe you should hold this person’s hand and try to take them around the park…But hopefully, your profile is just a starting point, and the plot points are just a starting point - there should be a feeling that you can shift and change when you want to.
What are the next steps for the Dreamy Awards?
There will be one film definitely made from it, which will be on the space – a new IPlayer channel on the BBC and then some sculptural work, video work. We’ll see!
The Dreamy Awards take place tonight at the Serpentine Pavilion in Hyde Park.
Text by Caroline Lever