The Copycat Academy takes the work and biography of an artist as the model for its curriculum. Over a one-week, intensive learning experience an artist’s method of production will be hijacked and subjected to a temporary parasitic inhabitation. The 2014 pilot will start with one of the most influential artist collectives of the late 20th century, Toronto based General Idea. This is meant to be idolatry and cult. Or more precisely an act of mimicry. Or more accurately it is a critical test of thought and practice, a laboratory where 20 participants can observe the emergence of meaning while they occupy and replicate themselves in the host. It’s a master class without a master. For the next edition we will choose another master.
Declaring the life and work of an artist to be the model of the curriculum does not mean becoming too personal however; feelings and thoughts are of the same interest as companions, working conditions, political events, technological tools, atelier furnishings, and weather patterns. After all, the sprung floor made modern dance, the crossfader made the DJ, and the felt and fat in the wreckage of a plane crash saved Joseph Beuys and made German art. The Copycat Academy needs to be imagined as a stage upon which a play is to be performed that bears the name of the artist. Actors enter the stage and improvise a play with the themes, people, and objects which define his/her life. There is no director, no script, and no audience, for all are actively involved.