Gemma Marmalade

As an artist specialising in photography, video and performance, my work has playfully sought to negotiate the authenticity of history, science and sexual politics. I am interested in the validation of assumed knowledge through photographic and performative media whilst exploiting the infrastructures of art.

During the 12 month period of fellowship residency at BOM, I undertook the research and development of two new bodies of work, each responding to two particular questions pertinent to my interest as being the (Con)Artist* and defining the ‘conceptual lie’**.

*‘(Con)artist’ refers to the artist whose intention is to convince their audience into believing that something fictitious is true by exploiting the confidence (e.g. ‘con’) of the given audience.

**‘Conceptual lie’ is a brand new definition born of my research interests to denote artworks that are specifically created with a premeditated, intentionally deceptive, covert concept embedded within its construct to deceive its audience. This is opposed to artworks using more overt fictitious elements, which are made with an implicit expectation to be understood by the audience, partly or in full, as fictions.

  • How can a lie be detected?

After completing a comprehensive study of the key contemporary psychology text, Vrij’s ‘Detecting Lies and Deceit’, I sought to examine it in relation to the photograph/moving image. This aimed to identify the key physical gestures of non- verbal communication that illustrate signals of deceit and can be documented with the still or moving image.

I undertook a systematic analysis and testing of each lie signalling gesture through recorded performative acts, followed by testing using established methods of lie detection (such as the polygraph) and audience perception/data collection.

  • How are conceptual lies represented in the still/moving image?

This manifested by undertaking broad research into historical evidence of conceptual lies in visual art history. This was conducted via individual case studies to identify specific devices in which a conceptual lie is effectively rendered and conducted. New visual work was created through practical revisionist interpretations of the analysed devices, applying the learnt ‘tricks’ within a body of images to hone the efficacy of visual deception.