Christina Elizabeth Hall

F For Fake by Orson Welles


F for Fake, a documentary by Orson Welles was an interesting analysis on authenticity. He investigates and addresses individuals directly involved with forgery in one way or another — Elmyr de Hory, a unstoppable art forager,  his “hoax biographer” Clifford Irving, Orsen Welles’ partner Oja Kodar and Orsen Welles himself.

The interesting part is that at the very beginning of the film and even in the name of the film, Welles is admitting that the documentary is addressing the concept of ‘what is fake’?. That in turn (like Andrew Lazarow did on the board on the first day of class by writing “Everything on this board is a lie”, “I love ITP” — does that mean that the second sentence is a lie? Or is the first? Or are they both?), makes you think what in this documentary is actually true? Because the topic, right out of the gate, is about fakery, what can be truthful here, really?

Welles interviews Elmyr on his process of creating forged art of many great painter’s work.  They are so accurate that even the experts couldn’t determine they were fake.  Elmyr would sell these paintings to the galleries and the galleries would put an exuberant price on this precious artifacts of art which would sell.  It’s interesting that the curators would somehow decide what the price of these paintings would be– one could be worth tens of thousands of dollars or more— and then in a split second, Elmyr could claim it as his and the painting would immediately be worthless, right in that moment. It interesting that we can affix worth on something one moment, and then remove it the next.

In class we talked about the definitions of an illusion (fake) versus a con (real fake).  A con makes you believe that something false is true; and an illusion makes you believe something impossible, even though you know it’s false.

With those definitions in mind, I believe that Elmyr would have been more on the con- side of the spectrum.  He created false paintings that he sold off, and convinced others, were real.

on the other hand…

I feel that Orsen Welles and the way he told his stories in the documentary were more of an illusion partly because there seemed to be an air of humor in the way he told his false tales, and also he did have FALSE flash across the screen many times throughout the documentary. I feel that his fables were easier for people to forgive, because he gave himself up in the end stating his story with Oja was incorrect.  If he didn’t mention that the tale was false at the end of the documentary, it might be harder choice where to place him on the spectrum of con/illusion.

Overall, if was an interesting social experiment on furthering the thoughts and concepts around illusions and cons.

Class 1 – History of Fairy Tales


Thoughts on the assigned readings:

I have never read to history of fairy tales and it’s so intriguing how complex their history’s are.

What are fairy tales used for? I thought the New Yorker article summed it up quite nicely: “[Fairy tales]… with their exacting distribution of rewards and punishments, they also increasingly tapped into the human urge to derive morals from stories. For centuries they held a moral anecdote, and based on the time and location, absorbed the tales of the culture and land to be passed on for generations.

A quote that I found really interesting, and it really stuck with me, in Bruno Bethlehem’s book, The Uses of Enchantment, “Like great art, fairy tale’ deepest meaning will be different for each person, and different for the same person at different moments in life. A child will extract different meaning from the same fairy tale, depending on his interests and needs of the moment.”

I feel like this is very powerful and this, in my eyes, is what makes fairy tales powerful. This is the reason why fairy tales live on throughout our lives, why we carry them with us, and pass them on.  They have such wisdom that we once didn’t see.

As mentioned later in the chapter, fairy tales are often very simple, where all the unnecessary detail is left out, yet their didactic meaning is so impactful that there can be many layers to learning.

When looking at the note above, it’s interesting because I feel that Tarot reading and astrological chart have the same affect on adults. I wonder if in this class we will be comparing fairy tales to astrology as this is something I’m very interested in diving deeper into.


Another note that I found interesting in the book written by Jack Zipes called Why Fairy Tales Stick, he talks about how the women’s role in story telling changes over the centuries. In the Middle Ages, fairy tales, once respected and cherished, were “gradually associated with untruths or silly women’s tales” and “believers began ‘feminizing’ the tradition of wonder and fairy tales and thereby dismissing it as not relevant to the ‘real world’…” Not until the seventeenth century were there much mention of women writers, but at this time in France there women that were changing the preseption of the female role in storytelling.


Gallery Visit + Class 1 Readings


Alex, Lindsey and myself took the trip up to the Upper West Side to go to the American Folk Art Museum to visit the Securing the Shadow: Posthumous Portraiture in America exhibit.

The exhibit displayed posthumous portraits of, most often, young children of the 18th and 19th centuries. All of the paintings were described, in great detail, but only what was pictured within the painting. Many of the descriptions talked about the animals, toys and environment the child was painted with and in, but one piece of the story was often left out — the reason for death. Is this something that was to be forgotten? Was the painting to be the only story that was carried forward of the child? To preserve identity?

Another thing I noticed was often there were different motifs in the paintings as to indicated further that the child was deceased: sun setting, specific types of flowers that are known to shrivel at the end of the day, books that read ‘remember me’ on the spine, many loose strings indicating that the thread of life cut too short. I’m curious why it was important to include these symbols in the painting.  Were the paintings often displayed in a public location within the house, and so that the guests wouldn’t be confused, was it important that these motifs were included? To be sure the proper story was portrayed? I’m unsure, but I thought it was interesting.

I wonder how frequently this type of portraiture spread in popularity over the years? Did it become a popular occurrence over time? Did visiting friends see the portrait in the hallway and decided that they wanted to do this for their children if they ever passed because they felt it was a great way to remember their story? How did this trend catch on? Did the visiting friend remember the story of the deceased child better because of the painting? In Chapter 3 of Narrative and Intelligence, they talk about how we remember stories and it might be relevant in analyzing this situation:

“We do not easily remember what other people have said if they do not tell it in the form of a story… More often than not, other people’s stories don’t have the richness of detail and emotional impact that allows them to be stored in multiple ways in our memories”

With that quote in mind, it seems that the detailed portraitures were used to preserve identity so that their story would not be lost in the years and centuries to come.

Hourly Comic


Hourly Comic

For our first Collective Narrative assignment, we were asked to document one full day, hour by hour, in any format desired.

I decided to record and collect my day on Saturday January 28, 2017. I did my best to go about my day the way I would any other day and not try to curate it as a result of documenting it, even though I was definitely self conscious about whether or not I was doing enough things of interest.

The daily format that I usually like to abide by is the following:

  1. Take a look at the news, even if the events are difficult to read about it
  2. Get outside. Going from building to subway to building doesn’t count.  Spend some good quality time outside.
  3. Do something active.
  4. Practice to get better at something.
  5. Evaluate: if there is something from your day that you don’t like, try to take an action to make some part of it better. **this is a new one for me.

For this assignment, I took a photograph every waking hour, on the hour. I also tried to record some audio in each environment so that it can help immerse the individual viewing this hourly comic experience.



My alarm goes off and I immediately snap this photo and record my groggy voice.

It’s hard to get up after a Friday night out in NYC, but I have a busy day so I need to get a move on.



After grabbing a quick breakfast, I grab my computer and look at the most recent news source so I can check #1 off my list. Floored by the immigrant ban. No words.



My alarm goes off on my phone for me to take my next photo and the hourly comic has found me on my 30-minute walk to a new coffee shop. Check #2 off the list.


I spent some time in this cute little coffee shop in Greenwich Village to get some reading done for next week’s classes


There’s this great dollar and craft store close to campus that i like just wondering around in.  It’s so mesmerizing. For this trip I actually needed some supplies for a potential upcoming project, so I decided to drop in here as it was very close to where I had coffee.


This is what I’m looking at 3PM. Saddened by what is going on, but feeling better because of the amount of people that are sharing their support.  Because I have a busy evening, I feel bad that I can’t be there also to support the issue.  No words. No audio.










To try to get the news off my mind, I head to my aerial silks class. Check #3 off my list.

I forgot to record audio in this space.  The audio would be ‘tin-y’ and ‘echo-y’ anyway, so it’s probably better that I didn’t 😉







The comic caught me just when I was just pulling my home-made, sour dough crust pizza out of the oven.  The pizza crust is something that I’ve been trying to perfect for many months now.  This one was good, but I still have to work at it. Accomplishing #4


I took the subway to Brooklyn to video record an ITP alumni-hosted event called Mixed Signals – an evening for electronic music, performance and art.


This is the event space and at this time I was setting up and ensuring that the gear was working well.









8PM – 9PM

The performers were fantastic! Have a listen to one of the pieces in the audio sample below.


Matt Romein, an ITP resident, was the headliner and performed In Triplet, a custom slit-scan based audio/visual sampler.



After a long evening of shooting, I took this blurry picture from a Lyft car driving over the Brooklyn bridge on my way back to Midtown Manhattan. No audio. Just rest.







By the time I got home from the shoot I remembered all the awful things that were happening and I wanted to do something that might help the situation.  I just wanted to do something. I remembered that there were these post cards that you could print to send to your senator. Here’s the link so that resource if you’re interested I’m hoping even the small things that everyone does will ultimately compound into some positive change. #5 completed


Music Cred: Rockin’ in the Free World – Neil Young.