new-york

Thomas Lawson

Metro Pictures

Thomas Lawson is the theorist of the “Real Life” movement, which means to analyze the “ideological myths” that constitute the “fiction” of “real life.” More than that, it means to sabotage them; its art is a self-consciously “perverse provocation” which intends to expose the style of contemporary “realistic” representation as “the near-transparent tool of a repressive ideology.” (Unless rhetorical, quoted material is from “Too Good to be True,” by Thomas Lawson, Real Life magazine, Autumn 1981.) This style is the media-derived instrument of social belief. Thus those sentenced to “real life” are doomed to the peculiar emptiness that results from repression; “real life” stories are artificial social productions starring people repressed into hollowness, or abstracted—subtly alienated—from themselves by their expectation of a media destiny, their acceptance of a media-determined sense of the

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