Jamie Shovlin’s work as a contemporary British artist plays with the tensions between truth and fiction, reality and invention, history and memory. His ambitious 'Naomi V Jelish' project was an intricate, three-year-in-the-making hoax of a longlost artist. It was a project that Charles Saatchi was so enamoured with, he bought the whole collection not knowing that Naomi was a Shovlin creation. Much like his faux-German glam rock band Lustfaust, another project chronicling a band who never existed through prints, paintings, websites and even a live show to celebrate the opening of Haunch of Venison's Berlin outpost.
Ned Beauman is the talented young author whose debut novel 'Boxer, Beetle' was shortlisted for last year’s Guardian First Book Award, and he has just been named as one of the twelve most promising new novelists in the country by the BBC Culture Show. Complex and conceptual, yet playful and utterly engaging, both Jamie Shovlin and Ned Beauman will be collaborating on an exclusive talk at Dazed Live.
Dazed Digital: What inspires you about working with the DIY and Digital ethos’ of today?
Jamie Shovlin: I like having control over various processes within making and exhibiting work. I find the more familiar I am with the range of what or how I could possibly express or present something, the richer the work can be.
Ned Beauman: Both of the two basic ideas for my debut came from Wikipedia, and Wikipedia is still really important to all my research – it lets me make connections much faster and more experimentally than I can in the London Library. People complain about the inconsistency and the unreliability and the lack of context, but when you're writing postmodern fiction, you learn to love all of that.
DD: Jamie, where did the love of horror films come from?
Jamie Shovlin: My love of horror films is a broken relationship that lingers from childhood. I'm intrigued by how the social aspect of those films - I'm talking about videos that you had to illicitly procure from the video section of your newsagents - might have some parallel today. “Hiker Meat” is the most recent example of my work with them and that looks at the relationship between sound and image in these films, and how they travel and mutate with their distribution.
DD: Ned, how about your interest in the historical times that your stories are set within?
Ned Beauman: In the 1930s, all sorts of possibilities were still open that we've now ruled out. Eugenics might have fixed the human race. Atonality might have been the future of music. Esperanto might have replaced all natural languages. Teleportation might have been a weapon of war. Los Angeles might have become a dense, pedestrian-friendly city. When I write characters who believe these things, I'm not setting up an easy historical irony with which to mock them – I'm trying to explore hypothetical worlds from their perspectives.
DD: What would you say are some hidden or unusual inspirations?
Ned Beauman: Grant Morrison's 'Batman' comics, Jane Jacobs' 'The Death and Life of American Cities', F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'Pat Hobby' stories; 'Seinfeld' and 'The Shield', 'Bioshock for Xbox 360; the London night bus network.
Jamie Shovlin: I think the chief inspiration is to be not like my father.
DD: What music acts are you looking forward to seeing at Dazed Live?
Jamie Shovlin: Aidan Moffat. I am a huge fan of Arab Strap so I'm keen to see what he's up to now. He also did an amazing Chemikal Underground EP as Ben Tramer that was a riff on the “Halloween” soundtrack. It's well worth tracking down.
Ned Beauman: I've heard Factory Floor are the best live band in London at the moment so I'm excited about seeing them.
DD: What future projects do you have coming up?
Jamie Shovlin: More 'Hiker Meat' after a break. Later this year a show at Tullie House in Carlisle where I will display my work in alongside items from their museum collections.
Ned Beauman: I'm about 95,000 words into my second novel 'The Teleportation Accident', which should come out some time in 2012.
Jamie Shovlin & Ned Beauman appear at Dazed Live on Saturday April 9, 2011. The festival takes place at several occasions in and around Shoreditch and is presented in parthership with Levi's and Absolut Vodka. Find out more about the Dazed Live HERE and buy your tickets HERE.