FAME ASYLUM ARCHIVE
Q. Has Fame Asylum really been nominated for an award?
A. Yes, a Royal Television Society Education Award, but it didn’t win. Rumours that it may be nominated for an Amnesty International award proved to be untrue.
Q. When did you have the idea?
A. In 2002. I was reading an article about asylum seekers, when I heard on the television that the BBC were making a PopStars copycat show called Fame Academy. At that moment the idea was born.
Q. Why did it take so long to come to fruition?
A. For several years I was almost the only person that didn’t think it was an awful idea. The other person was artist/international television executive Gary Carter, who I met at a conference in 2002 and who encouraged me to pursue the idea. I would later collaborate with Gary on Project V.
Q. Were they real asylum seekers?
Q. Even Aaron?
Q. Where can I download Status’ song “A Guy Like Me”?
A. I don’t own the rights to the song, and I don’t think you can download it anymore, but you can watch a video of their South Bank performance here.
Q. Did you purposely sabotage the CD, so that it would skip at the South Bank performance?
A. No, although I was rather against the idea of them miming in the first place. The documentary makers wanted to have a recording of them miming in case they sounded awful live. In all the chaos of the day I forgot to retrieve the cd after the gig, but have subsequently managed to get it back, and it plays absolutely fine in all three cd players I’ve tested it in. My working theory therefore is that either the cd player at the gig was faulty (none of the previous acts had used it), or the vibration from the dancing caused the cd to skip. I accept responsibility for not double-checking both the backing track and the mime tracks during our brief sound check. In retrospect, that should have been done. But it was my first and last music sound check, so you live and learn. Interesting postscript: Originally the director was going to cut out the whole cd skipping incident, but I argued for it to be left in.
Q. So you had editorial control?
A. No. I was heavily involved in the pitching and preproduction of the documentary, and was able to give input to the director, but more often than not it was the other way round. I was kind of jostling for an associate producer role, but they said it would blur the lines between programme makers and subject too much.
Q. Did you get paid?
A. Yes, but not very much considering I spent several months on the project. It works out about minimum wage, when you average it out. I could have apparently got much more if I had an agent, which I don’t.
Q. Did the boys get paid?
A. No. to do so would have negatively affected their applications to stay in the country, as Asylum seekers aren’t allowed to earn money. Expenses only.
Q. Was the South Bank gig their last performance?
A. No they performed a bravura final gig back at the Human Rights Conference in Mile End that night. Unfortunately it wasn’t included in the doc as the crew were all exhausted. In retrospect it’s a shame it wasn’t filmed, as the finished documentary ends on a bit of a down note, when in actuality the project had quite an upbeat conclusion. It was filmed by other people, though, and I hope to include footage on a forthcoming dvd.
(UPDATE: Footage from Status's final performance in Mile End is included on the dvd Normalisation of Deviance)
Q. Why didn’t you narrate the programme?
A. I did originally, but the production company re-recorded it, I think to give the programme more objectivity. Also, I’m not a very good narrator.
Q. At the end of the programme it says something about Eurovision?
A. It was my dream to take Status to Helsinki 2007. I theorise that a UK Eurovision entry comprised of performers who aren’t from the UK is the only way the UK will ever win. Aaron in particular would have attracted the powerful eastern European vote. Unfortunately the BBC didn’t respond to any of my enquiries. I’ll try again in 2008, possibly, although, I'll be be very busy with my planned Eurovision Marathon project.
Q. How did Channel Four get involved?
Q. Was the boyband a parody?
Q. What happened to the band and the boys?
The answer to all these questions and more can be found in the email exchanges below:
I have received many emails about the Fame Asylum project since it was first transmitted in November 2006. I have removed all the sycophantic ones from friends and family. The following are all genuine emails from strangers. Some have been abridged to remove contact details and other personal information. Where relevant I have included replies.
From: Myke Armstrong
Sent: 18 July 2006 19:25:56
Subject : Guy Like Me
Dear Mr. Dedomenici, I am Mike Jones (a.k.a. Myke Armstrong) I am the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter in the Canadian rock band Spoken Whisper. I was readin MacLean's Magazine this afternoon and saw an article about your "Refugee Band" and noticed your song title, Guy Like Me. I hate to tell you this, but MY single Guy Like Me was written back in 2003 and recorded in 2004. Please change the title you are using to something not as close to mine I am not trying to be mean or anything, I've just worked to hard at this to have people thinking of your band when I announce My song on stage. Thank-you for your time.
From: Emma Palmieri
Sent: 03 December 2006 09:40:12
Subject: Status - Fame asylum
Heya, Do you have any updates on 'status', I am a secret fan of cheezy pop and I think the project was a brilliant idea, cheers – Emma
From: oli harris
Sent: 16 January 2007 11:25:24
Subject: Fame Asylum
Just saw the Fame Asylum documentary on Channel 4 and have been googling frantically to try and and find the contact address of Richard Dedomenici so hopefully I've stuck gold and this is it!
Just a simple email really to say I was greatly impressed by the show and the concept. Am an admirer of your art (although must admit have only seen Fame Asylum out of any of it). You truly suceed in your aims of your art work. You really made me think and although I wasn't exactly 100% against asylum seekers my view was severly altered. As a lesser artist im envious of you (in a good way though...if that's possible).
Will carry on googling now to try and find more of your work, but any reply to this email would be greatly appreciated.
Update me on any work your doing / any news on the "Status" boys?
From: Sarah Turton
Sent: 16 January 2007 11:17:02
I saw your fame asylum thing today, i thought it was great. One of the most interesting things i've seen in ages, well done you.
Do you really live with your mother?
From: clare davies
Sent: 18 January 2007 12:44:33
The other morning when I should have been getting a life, not sitting round my flat, I flicked onto bbc2 and saw the programme Fame Asylum.
I was moved, to tears actually, by it, by those lads, their story, and by your involvement with them in this way. Since I missed the start (I only flicked over by chance, I was headed for Jeremy Kyle), I only realised near the end when it showed your debate about whether or not you felt it was expoitative, that it was part of an art project.
I don't know what happened to those lads in the aftermath of the project, but I know the programme affected me, and made me connect very personally to the reality of what immigrants face every day: it was a very human, touching programme. There's not that much on T.v, or in the media in general which moves me to want to respond personally, but this did, and I just wanted to commend you for what you did, whether or not you felt it a success or failure, it was a brave project to take on.
It even spurred me to read your blog, and find out more of what you do. Inspiring. Your hair seems to be quite a predominant feature, it's quite a strange phenomenon, very versatile.
So could you add me to your mailing list?. That would be nice. I live in Brighton, and would be especially interested if you came here and wanted to do something to shake this place up a bit. It's so full of creative types doing the same creative thing, it's in danger of becoming completely vacuous.
From: LUNA RAHMAN
Sent: 16 February 2007 12:52:50
Subject: Fame Asylum
I have just watched your programme 'Fame Asylum'. You said that you think you haven't been benevolent - you have been worse than that. You may have given the boys a small amount of self esteem but that was never your intention. This was an art project to you; you took a group of vunerable men and used them for your benefit - your choreographer was correct in saying that you have been callous. Your programme has left me angry that you entered into this project without sufficient thought or research into the legacy or long lasting effects that this could have on the young men involved. You are dealing with people's lives not a group of inanimate objects in an academic experiment. When this is all over who will they turn to?
Sent: 16 February 2007 13:26:06
Subject: Would you be my solo performance artist manager?
To: LUNA RAHMAN
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 15:24:59 +0000
Thanks for your email.
The documentary you saw this morning was originally aired last November and has subsequently been screened on 4Learning twice.
It was explained to the young men before they auditioned that the most we could offer them were two weeks of interesting experiences. When Aaron, David, Long, and Saeed (who, from hereon, I will affectionately refer to as 'the boys') all met for the first time I rammed home the point that the music industry is extremely fickle, boybands doubly so. I made it clear that no boyband has ever been formed in a fortnight before, and that, as such, there was little to no chance the band would get a deal, and that they should consider just getting to the final gig as their overall objective.
(At the beginning many of us, including the boys, doubted even if we'd make it that far.)
Understandably, the director left all this stuff out of the documentary for dramatic effect.
As it happened, we did get interest from several record companies, however most just wanted to sign the band for a one single deal, which would have seen little to no benefit for the boys, or longevity for the project.
The project finished last summer, and since then the boys have returned to their normal lives, which was a bit weird for everyone, especially Saeed, who had only been in the UK for a few weeks prior to auditioning, and had thus learned most of his English from artists, tv people and musos. All are currently studying and hoping to stay in the country, although, having reached eighteen, everyone except Aaron currently has their cases under review by the Home Office. The chances of them all remaining in the UK is very low, although their legal teams have asked me to provide them with full details of the Fame Asylum project, as it is thought that participation in such an enterprise may help further their cases.
In a way, I am glad the band didn't get a record deal, as the boys are all capable of so much more than being in a boyband. If the boys have taken anything away from the project I think it is that they should find out what they love to do, and do it to the best of their ability, and then they'll be happy.
I realise this may sound overly twee, and I don't want to brush away your points, which are entirely valid. The project was always going to be ethically dubious - which is a running theme of my work, which is fine when it's just me in the firing line (as is normally the case), but far more problematic when it's four 'vunerable' men. (Although some would argue that, having gone through so much pain and suffering in their lives just to get the UK, being in a boyband for a fortnight is water off a duck's back.)
I remain in contact with the Aaron, David, Long and Saeed, who also remain in contact with each other, the production team, and members of the crew. This support structure would not have been in place had the project not happened.
There are lots of other things about the project that I'd like to tell you, such as that the project was originally co-commissioned by The Refugee Council and the PSi #12 human rights conference with a budget of £1000. It would have been a very lo-fi affair, with the song being written and recorded by me on a laptop and the process documented by me on a mini-dv camera, and possibly uploaded to YouTube. It was very late in the process that Channel Four Learning expressed an interest, and the project grew in scale exponentially.
I am very glad that C4 got involved, even though I lost some creative control, as they paid for the recording studio and TJ the choreographer, and Sammi the vocal coach and Colin the songwriter, and the accomodation, and those lovely big mirrors in the rehearsal room, and above all documented the project professionally and guaranteed it an audience.
But the intention of the project was never to get my face on the telly.
(I don't contact tv companies with ideas. Sometimes, as on this occasion, it's the other way around. I'm fine with this, as I feel that television may be an ideal medium for my work. Most requests are turned down, however. I am well aware of the populist media's attitude to contemporary art, and that all publicity is not neccesarily good publicity.)
The intention of the project is outlined here:
The argument with TJ towards the end stemmed from the use of the term 'parody' to describe the boyband. I personally never used that term to describe the project.
The term was attributed to an American delegate at the conference, who saw the band's first performance, and remarked "it's a really interesting parody" (parody of what, they didn't say).
I feel that this particular observer misinterpreted the project. Indeed some people in that audience didn't even believe that the boys were real asylum seekers - that they were instead paid actors. I realise this ambiguity may have been partially my fault, as my introduction sounded a bit sarcastic (just the way I talk, I'm afraid. I can't sound sincere to save my life, often causing unintentional offence), but I stand by the right not to make work that is obvious and easy to understand. One of art's greatest strengths is that it is open to interpretation. If artists lower the common denominator to the extent that everyone instantly knows what it's about, then what's the point of making the work in the first place?
I would certainly say that the band was a pastiche (in the way that Westlife were a pastiche of Boyzone, who were a pastiche of Take That, who were a pastiche of New Kids on the Block, who were a pastiche of New Edition, who were a pastiche of The Jackson Five..), and a rather satirical pastiche at that, but 'parody', I don't agree with.
(Although 'parody' just means pastiche with mocking intent, and I did intend to lovingly mock the boyband genre, and less lovingly the wider music industry. But 'parody' is a loaded term with many incorrect and insidiously negative connotations, which would be to remove any serious intent or autonomy from the project, so I tried never to use the term in connection with the project.)
Sorry for rambling, but I have been wanting to get some of these thoughts down, and you are (believe it or not) the first negative email I've received on the subject.
(This excludes all the the negative media coverage the project received. From its inception the project was designed to polorise the press, but I was still a little surprised by their voracity: "Richard DeDomenici is a Fucking Idiot" PopJustice, "The Worst Idea For A Television Programme In The World Ever" The Guardian, "Appauling" The British National Front).
But I think that's because people are more willing to email compliments to other individuals than complaints.
And while I'm sure you won't be the last, most emails so far have been quite positive, some people saying that the programme made them cry, others that it has softened their attitude to immigration. I will put them all up on the website at some point.
I have to go now, but would genuinely be interested in any further dialogue. Perhaps could I ask what your relationship is to the programme? Are you a student seeing this programme in school (which makes up most of its audience, I think) or do you work in the Immigration sector?
Fame Asylum has been by far my most ambitious and problematic project to date (and this has been by far the longest email I've written in response to it). It's still far too early for me to decide whether it was a good idea or not.
To help you decide, if you haven't fully done so already, and to put it in context, here are some links to some of my other work:
From: LUNA RAHMAN
Sent: 6 February 2007 18:04:36
Subject: RE: Fame Asylum
Thank you for your reply.
My initial reaction to the programme was one of anger, however, having read your email it has given me a fuller picture of the project. Maybe, all being well with 'the boys', you might follow up with a programme '5 years from now'.
I work in the arts with young people. I am currently studying for a TESOL qualification. However I was watching the programme purely for personal interest.
I will follow the links you have provided.
Please pass on my best wishes to 'the boys' in their fight against deportation.
All the best in your future work.
Sent: Friday, May 11, 2007 11:17 AM
Subject: [Dedomenici Blog] New comment on Fame Asylum Fallout.
that dreadful thing is constantly on TV it seems, i was offended by the idea, but it certainly sticks in the mind. A not easily forgotten obvioous and tasteless idea. Shoes what the critics and so called art journalists know in this country. I guess you keep getting accolades for various pieces of mediocrity - like the bill posters graff thing as well, what rot! sorry for this rant but you ought to kow you're not purely loved and certainly too boring for shoreditch. leave that place alone.
From: Richard Dedomenici
Sent: 11 May 2007 16:43:21
Subject: [Dedomenici Blog] New comment on Fame Asylum Fallout.
Thanks Anonymous. If anyone wants a Too Boring For Shoreditch badge, visit http://www.dedomenici.co.uk and click on Shop.
From: Nicky Pennicott
Sent: 11 May 2007 11:41:15
Subject: Fame Asylum fan! ^_^
I recently watched Fame Asylum on Channel 4 (today in fact about half hour ago!) and it was such a moving story! i've never felt so strongly about asylum seekers before but your program made me think and feel so differently as well as realise just how hard it is for them. I was touched most by Long's story, i am a uK citisen but i've never been close to my father myself, but to loose him entirely would crush me, i don't know how they young guy could stand being so lost and alone here, same for the others i guess as well.
This i guess is just a mail to say im proud of what you did (call me a fan fan of the program i guess!), bringing them all something not even most of us normal people would get a chance to do, and helping them out as well as bringing them vast amounts of confidence about who they are.
is there anywhere i can acess images of the band when they where together? i saw at the end they had photoshoots and im curious why nowhere has them up!
Also, have you heard if they all managed to stay here? i really hope none got deported, especially Long with all his ambitions and studies.
reassure me they are alright! haha
Thanks very much for your time in reading this babble!
From: Philip Terry
Sent : 16 October 2007 12:09:07
To : email@example.com
Subject : ideas
I've seen your programme about the Asylum band for the second time now incidently and think your ideas are brilliant... Also thought your attitude was right while getting over a lot of difficult hurdles you had. Alot of people would have lost there cool in those situations....
I'm in a similar situation; 25 and overwhelmed with creativity and ideas every day while trying to focus to get some ideas off the ground with limited resources.....
In the lead up to your event, did you learn anything that may be worth sharing?
ps. Are you on facebook?
Sent: 16 Oct 2007 16:45:17
To: Philip Terry
Subject: RE: ideas
Thankyou for your kind words.
It's a good thing to have too many ideas. Many artists only have one idea, which they repeat throughout their career. This is only excusable if it a good idea.
Try and carry out the time-critical ideas first, write the other ones down for later, and don't be put off when other people manage to carry out the same ideas before you.
Here are some of my personal maxims, taken from my 2006 publication Richard DeDomenici Is Still An Artist:
1. Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow.
2. It's easier to apologise afterwards than it is to ask permission.
3. It reduces the confusion about how to interpret a work of art if there are no signifiers to suggest that it's a work of art in the first place.
4. Be a cog in the system and a spanner in the works.
5. There's no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation.
6. Some people deserve to be offended
Take all these with a pinch of salt.
Oh, I've just thought of a new one: Not all publicity is good publicity.
Finally, I have just updated the Fame Asylum archive, which contains background and reaction to the project:
Good luck with all your future endeavours, Philip!
PS. I am not on FaceBook or MySpace. I made a decision last year that Social Networking Websites Are For Losers, and since then I've remained steadfast to that assertion, though I reserve the right to change my mind on this topic without notice.
From : Rumer Joyce
Sent : 16 October 2007 12:23:38
To : firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject : well done
Well done richard I think you make a great project and it was a great film, well edited and very educational. I think you did everything you set out to achieve. Well done!! I hope you get a record deal for those boys and everything works out for you.
From : Majella Connell
Sent : 14 January 2008 12:08:06
To : email@example.com
Subject : Fame Asylum
Im sure you have received hundreds of e-mails regarding this programme- and Im sure that I will be saying nothing new or interesting (but I can always live in hope!) but it has been a long time since a TV programme urged me to get straight on to google for reasons other than to perv on someone!
I really enjoyed this programme- I live in Ireland and I definitely believe that as a nation we are incredibly hostile toward and ignorant of the personal stories of our many asylum seekers. I am currently training to be a nurse and I have observed how refugees are treated differently even on the ward. I cant pretend to have vast knowledge on this subject- and to be honest I have to admit my own ignorance- but your project made me more aware, and definitely stirred me to take a greater interest in people from other countries, and their stories.
I admire your ambition as an artist- I work in an art gallery part time and have the greatest respect for artists who aren't pretentious and make their art accessible to all- fair play to you!
(and living with your mam is deadly! here's your sister!)
From : Rachel Todd
Sent : 14 January 2008 12:17:21
To : firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject : Fame Asylum
I just saw your programme Fame Asylum on channel 4 and wanted to say what a great job you did with the band. It was an important point that they are vulnerable young people but you gave them significant gifts – hope for the future and the facility to be seen as an individual. I only hope that my country can do them justice in giving them the status they not only need but deserve.
Thank you for representing asylum seekers as people rather than the label that so many fail to understand. It was very insightful, not only about their lives and struggles but Aaron’s friend makes British citizens question what we really bring to our own country. Born here by chance, many of us could give back much more than we do but instead take our privileges for granted.
I recently met a guy who processes visa applications who made me realise just how ridiculous the system is when a convicted rapist is allowed to stay but someone who has worked for our army is deported. It’s a difficult world and I wish all the lads the very best for the future.
A participatory performance project for PSi#12 Performing Rights Conference and Refugee Week 2006 created in collaboration with Channel Four, the Live Art Development Agency and Refugee Week.
Fame Asylum is a collaboration between the artist Richard Dedomenici, Channel Four, Refugee Week, PSi#12 Performing Rights Conference, and the Live Art Development Agency that aims to create a participatory performance project with asylum seekers for Refugee Week 2006.
Richard Dedomenici will undertake an audition process in London in May and June 2006 with the aim of inviting four young male asylum seekers to form a vocal harmony boyband that will be launched as part of Refugee Week 2006.
Following the audition process and confirmation of the line-up, the band will be launched at a special appearance/press conference at PSi#12 Performing Rights Conference in London on June 14th. They will then undertake an intensive rehearsal process in which they will receive vocal training, choreography lessons, stylist makeovers, and record a demo of their debut single. This process will be captured on film for a Channel Four documentary to be transmitted in the autumn. The band’s first live performance will be on stage at the Celebrating Sanctuary event on London's South Bank as part of Refugee Week 2006.
Such an innovative and provocative experiment that addresses issues of immigration, human rights and the nature of fame will inevitably receive media coverage, and it is intended that such exposure will contribute to interest in this project and cultivate record company interest, and therefore a sustainable future, for the band. The project is concerned with shifting perceptions and understandings of the experiences of asylum seekers and has no intention of guaranteeing its participant’s fame, sustainable employment or chart success.
Fame Asylum is designed to alter attitudes towards immigration issues among the difficult to-reach opinion-influencing female adolescent demographic, harnessing pester-power and the trickle-up theory‚ to change minds, alter behaviour, shift paradigms, and transform societies.
Fame Asylum is being developed in response to the identified needs of artists working in Live Art and related practices who wish to engage with new creative strategies to raise popular awareness around complex socio-political issues, and in response to the needs of refugee artists and asylum seekers who wish to make visible the contribution of refugees to the UK, promote understandings of why people seek sanctuary and counter negative perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers in Britain.
Richard Dedomenici is a one-man subversive think-tank primarily dedicated to the development and implementation of innovative strategies designed to undermine accepted belief systems and topple existing power structures. By approaching the limits of conventionally acceptable behaviour, Richard Dedomenici's poetic acts of low-grade civil disobedience forcibly ask pertinent questions of society, while his subtle anarcho-surrealist interventions create the kind of uncertainty that leads to possibility.
Live Art Development Agency
The Live Art Development Agency is the leading development organisation for Live Art and new performance based practices in the UK. The Agency offers extensive open access opportunities for research, training, dialogue and debate; provides practical information and advice; works in partnership with artists and organisations on curatorial initiatives; and develops new ways of increasing popular and critical awareness of Live Art. Issues of cultural difference and diversity are a priority for the Agency and inform many of its schemes and initiatives.
Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, promote understanding about the reasons why people seek sanctuary, and encourage better understanding between different communities. Refugee Week was first held in 1998, and was created in response to the increasingly negative perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers held by the general public in Britain. It remains the only UK-wide event that promotes the importance of sanctuary and the benefits it can bring to both refugees and host communities.
Refugee Week is a multi-agency project, with representatives from the partner agencies forming the UK Steering and Operation Groups. The partner agencies currently include: Refugee Council, Amnesty International UK, Arts Council England, British Red Cross, International Rescue Committee UK, Refugee Action, Save the Children Fund UK, Scottish Refugee Council, STAR (Student Action for Refugees), UNHCR, Welsh Refugee Council and Oxfam.
For 2006’s Refugee Week events will be organised around the idea that Refugee Week is a space of encounters between different communities and an opportunity to use more creative ways to address relevant issues and attract new audiences.
PSi#12 Performing Rights Conference
In London for the first time, PSi #12 Performing Rights will focus on questions of performance and human rights and will feature plenary addresses, numerous panels and a diverse programme of Performance Events.
Bringing together curators, policy makers and directors of some of London's key cultural agencies and institutions, alongside artists, activists and thinkers from all over the world, this event will be a unique crossing between the arts, the academy, activism and public policy.
As part of Refugee Week 2007, I was asked to contribute an essay to the Refugee Week Blog. It was a modified version of the email to Luna Rahman, published above, and can be read here. I also did this performance.
As of Tuesday 16th October, Fame Asylum has been broadcast eight times, which I think is the maximum number of times Channel Four can screen the documentary without having to pay repeat fees, so it may not be on again. However, if you have a PC, you can watch it on 4oD, Channel Four's on demand service.
UPDATE: It was just on again, actually (January 14th 2008). I know this because of the unsolicited emails in my inbox (added above).
There are also some clips on Four Learning's Fame Asylum microsite, as well as a programme outline, curriculum notes, and lesson activities.
Fame Asylum has, at the time of writing, been exhibited as part of three gallery exhibitions: Festival at Space Station 65, London, Media Attention at g39 in Cardiff, and We Like It A Lot at Nettie Horn, London. Here is a review of Media Attention, and below is some explosive explanatory copy by curator Cassandra Needham:
"DeDomenici’s shrewd deployment of spin works within the media system, courting media interest whilst undermining the very notions the popular press created.
The project also raises pertinent questions regarding exploitation and the efficacy of socially engaged art. Fame Asylum is, after all, the real life story of four very vulnerable young men and it is by no means a rags-to-riches story – the quartet finds neither fame nor an adoring public, disbanding after just two weeks.
By compounding two dominant structures of our time – collaborative art practice and reality television – DeDomenici opens each up to critical debate. The resulting hybrid is far more nuanced than a direct and singular critique of either convention."
Furthermore, Fame Asylum will be screened as part of the National Review of Live Art 2008 in Glasgow next February.
At the University of California, Berkeley, Doctoral candidate Beth Hoffman recently gave a paper entitled 'Liminal-norms and the "normalisation of deviance": Richard DeDomenici's Fame Asylum'. The paper will eventually form a chapter of Hoffman's PhD thesis, so cannot yet be published in Academia Nuts, In the meantime, here is a brief extract:
I argue that Fame Asylum is an example of live art that productively exposes the sidelined anxieties and normative effects that liminal spaces can bring about, rather than one that unequivocally affirms the cultural efficacy of liminality highlighted by Heathfield and Quick.
Blimey, Heathfield and Quick - that's a bit contentious. Do either of you have anything to say in response? Email me and I'll add your contribution to this page.
Here is an official Channel Four publicity shot, taken immediately after Status' first performance on the South Bank.
Oh, and there are some articles about the project here, here, here and here, and a AustriaNews video on YouTube here.
Finally, and slightly off topic, here is a unsolicited Channel ident I made in Ireland, which coincided with the original transmission of Fame Asylum in 2006. It comes up first if you type Channel Four Ident into YouTube, and recently made it to the final four in a 4Talent Stings Competition.