Each year, Copycat Academy models its curriculum after the work and the biography of a different artist, without his or her consent. The 2014 pilot “hijacked” one of the most influential artist collectives of the late 20th century, the Toronto-based General Idea. The absent master in 2015 is David Cronenberg and the script for this year’s program is based on his first fiction book Consumed: A Novel (Scribner, 2014).
The relationship between the absent master and the Copycat Academy could be described as one of parasitic inhabitation: participants lodge on the “body” of an oeuvre, in order to experimentally extract an instruction manual for copying processes. In other words, replicating themselves in the host means that they can observe new meanings emerge through bastardization or mutation. However, with Cronenberg, copying is an infectious process, and a dangerous one at that, for it transforms both the identity of the original as well as the status of the copy.