Impakt Theme Announcement: Authenticity?

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Impakt is thrilled to announce the 2016 programme theme: Authenticity?

Does Authenticity still matter? In our hyperlinked network culture, it seems that the valuation of characteristics like hybridity and reproducibility have shifted. At the same time, omnipresent marketing and self-representation strategies more than ever emphasise sincerity as both a life goal and an experience. How may we understand this paradox? Throughout 2016 Impakt, appointed curators Barbara Cueto & Bas Hendrikx will map the compelling new notions of authenticity from the perspectives of arts, technology and society, culminating in the Impakt Festival from 26 – 30 October 2016.

The dominant definition of authenticity as being ‘of undisputed origin’ and not a copy, may need reconsideration, or even a redefinition to accurately apply to the post-digital realm and its configurations. Authenticity, traditionally perceived according to Romantic notions of introspection, has shifted meaning in the post-digital age and as such rather presents itself now as a marketing strategy or self-branding tool.

Departing from new technologies and how they have modified our social, economic and cultural realities at large, this year’s Impakt programme aims to identify new typologies of the ‘Authentic’. Our perception of the ‘authentic’ has slipped into a different paradigm since we consult Siri for every-day advice and allow our friendships to be ruled by Facebook algorithms.
Stepping beyond the scope of the merely human, face-to-face, experience of interaction, our behaviour is monitored in an expanded public sphere of copies without original, and, more importantly: a certain indifference to the implications of our online habits.

Today, the search for authenticity stretches way beyond the visual arts. We crave for an authentic feeling. Is this behaviour a display of our personal quest for authenticity or a mere display of retro-nostalgia, aimed at gathering likes on Instagram? The current relevance of the topic of authenticity, its commodification and values, in the context of the post-digital era is relatively young and strongly calls for new research into its typologies.
The Impakt 2016 Authenticity Program will map its various understandings and meanings, reflect upon its relevance as a business strategy; and instead of representation of its’ suggested meaning, this program functions as a catalyst – reflecting and producing a theoretical background for authenticity in the post-digital age.

About the curators
Barbara Cueto (1986, Spain) is a Spanish curator and writer. She is the current curatorial fellow of Bétonsalon in Paris and the curator of the off-space Vesselroom Project in Berlin. Before that, she was working in several project spaces in Berlin and developing parallel projects and publications.

Bas Hendrikx (1986, the Netherlands) is a curator based in Amsterdam. Currently, he is associate curator at P//////AKT in Amsterdam and appointed curator for Skulptur Bredelar in 2016. From 2012 to 2014, he was a curator at Hotel Maria Kapel, residency and project space in Hoorn, the Netherlands. As participants of De Appel Curatorial Programme, Barbara Cueto and Bas Hendrikx, in collaboration with Lian Ladia, curated the exhibition Your Time Is Not My Time, which explored the role of the empowered user in times of the hypercirculation of data and image.