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Fake ID, a new installation by Swizzle Studio, is inspired by a 20th century dodgy fake ID trick that kept many a second rate photographer in business.

From dusk until dawn on October 4, 2004 an oversized drivers license was spotlit in Trinity Bellwoods Park. Hundreds of people had a friend take their photo in front of the licenses. Swizzle staffers offered instruction cards for making their own fake ID card from their digital photographs.

This instruction card will be given to participants at the event

For a print-quality version of the card, click here

Calling all Sandy Pseudos! Did you make a Fake ID?

Flickr: Post it in the Fake ID - Nuit Blanche 2008, Toronto pool:

Facebook: Post it in the Did you you have your photo taken at the Fake ID Nuit Blanche Exhibit? group:

Background & Rationale: This project is inspired by a fake ID trick employed by a second floor photographer in pre-Expo 86 Vancouver. Teens would stand in front of the enormous ID to have their photo taken. A few days later, they would return to pick up their ID, which was a photo of them and the card together printed on photo paper and laminated. These IDs only worked in places where the management didn’t care, but the fake ID itself was rite of passage. Heading downtown on to a grubby office to pick up the license, carrying the contraband in your wallet or purse, bragging to friends that you had actually used it: these were all rites of passage. I was surprised later in life to hear that such set-ups existed in many major cities. Fake ID asks the questions “Are shared acts of rebellion really acts of rebellion?” and “Is a fake better than the real thing, as it carries the cachet of rebellion?”

While it was a typical ruse to have an out-of-province ID card so those checking it would be unfamiliar with its nuances, there is extra glamour in creating a new persona for oneself. The document used in Fake ID is a Hawaiian driver’s license. From the sunniest of the American States, this fake gives the bearer an exoticism without foreignness, plus a implied permission to drive.

The other idea this work engages is that of liminal space, anonymous places that are neither here nor there (phone booths and cash economies are two better known examples). These spaces become fewer as credit cards and digital technology move further into our lives for convenience sake. In the 21st Century, bar codes and holograms have become the norm on even student ID cards, so the idea of this fake ID having any use is laughable. However, if printed and pocketed, Fake ID can transport the bearer to not so distant past when a person could disappear, cross borders or even change identities with relative ease.