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Notebook on Cities and Culture S2E11: Authenticity v. Utopia with Jonathon Keats

Colin Marshall sits down somewhere in between San Francisco’s Chinatown, Nob Hill, and Russian Hill with conceptual artist, experimental philosopher, and writer Jonathon Keats, author of the upcoming book Forged: Why Fakes Are the Great Art of Our Age. They discuss his own role as, above all, a fake; his attempt to epigenetically clone such celebrities as Lady Gaga, Michael Phelps, and Barack Obama; Forged, forgery, pursuit of simulacra, and Wim Wenders’ Notebook on Cities and Clothes; content’s ongoing release from form, and how it sends out the concept of forgery even as it brings it back in; the enthusiastically forged paintings of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, and Thomas Kinkade’s massively replicated, “master highlighted” images; authenticity as it relates to spaghetti and meatballs; San Francisco’s intriguing tension between the claims of its own authenticity and its vision of itself as an experimental utopia — or, in his words, its simultaneous tendencies toward the “incredibly smug” and “very insecure”; why Europeans love San Francisco, and whether that has anything to do with the city’s ultimate derivation from their own; his thought experiments’ usefulness as “curiosity amplifiers,” generating larger questions than the ones they came from; the difference between doing experimental philosophy in San Francisco and in other countries, like Italy; and the exhilarating American freedom that also numbs.

Download the interview from Notebook on Cities and Culture’s feed or on iTunes.

(Photo: Jen Dessinger)

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