In early 2011, The Guardian began reporting on the case of the Metropolitan Police officer, Mark Kennedy, who had spent seven years undercover as an environmental activist called Mark Stone. Stone had homes, a passport, a driving licence, a bank card. Once Kennedy’s cover was blown however, Stone no longer had a body.
In 2012, Simon Farid began to explore what happens to identities like ‘Mark Stone’ once they are discarded by their original occupant. Presumably they weren’t killed off by the police; who would make the call to the bank to inform them of Mark’s death? Instead, Simon speculated that Mark Stone might live on in the different institutional systems that had originally constituted him. If so, could someone else become Mark Stone, using the dormant identifiers sustained by these institutions?
Presented in the gallery are the identity articles Simon was able to secure while occupying the discarded Mark Stone identity. All are fully functioning. They are a result of luck, blagging, amateur detective work and gaps in the system.
Simon Farid is a visual artist interested in the relationship between administrative identity and the body it purports to codify and represent. Taking on the role of a hacker or trickster, he looks to playfully intervene in the identity-generation process, operating as ‘other people’ and enacting ways to counter emergent institutional identity confirmation mechanisms. A quick Google search will, of course, reveal where he lives, works, what he looks like and information about other people with whom he shares his name.
What are the geographic coordinates of your favourite secret place?
What kinds of private information do you think will be valuable in 2050?
Elsewhere, much the same as now really. As global inequality and man-made climate change increase, citizenship will be recognised as an increasingly valuable commodity. Companies like this, henleyglobal.com, will do well.
Everyone has a secret. What's yours?
My pin number is 1953.
My first pet's name was Rico.
My phone number is 07919142398.