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Likely lad mixes art with reality in a bid to confuse
Preston Likely with his art mixing different sources of information to confuse people’s thoughts with reality
STRANGE objects have been popping up in the most unlikely places in Oxford.
From a gnome in Frideswide Square, to a letter P at a bus stop in Kennington Road, there has been nothing to explain their presence, other than a small card with a description.
But this is actually the work of artist and serial prankster Preston Likely, from Iffley, who has been working on the project called Scene of Art Incident.
Over the last three months, he has placed more than 30 ‘art incident’ scenes in and around the city.
Mr Likely said the project was inspired by an article he read about scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States who claimed people’s minds mix different sources of information and imagination and reality.
The 42-year-old said: “This interplay of reality and make-believe forms the basis of my art incident scenes, which combine factual events with a sprinkling of fiction and exaggeration. And when an observer is confronted by one of my art incident scenes, they have to decide for themselves how much truth there is in each one of the statements that accompany the respective objects.
“Some of them have remained on display for up to a week without being moved or destroyed.
“The yellow tape around the objects seems to give them a kind of authoritative status — compelling viewers not to trespass beyond the cordoned off areas.”
Mr Likely added: “As for the objects and statements themselves, once I have photographed them, I leave them behind for the public to admire, ignore, laugh at, or merely feel indifferent towards.”
This is the latest in a series of projects Mr Likely has undertaken, including posting joke posters on empty shops to draw people’s attention to them.
He recently placed a joke poster on an empty shop in Rose Hill, suggesting that a sex shop was about to open.
The prank prompted criticism from some traders.
Mr Likely is also working on a follow-up book to Amuse Agents, which brings together a collection of hoax advertisements placed in shop windows.
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