In 2007 I created and adopted the fictional corporate persona of Felicity Mukherjee, a professional expert in the field of public relations and market research. Between 2007 and 2011 Felicity appeared in public at art events, festivals and on radio to conduct research exercises and present the results of her research, as shown below. She last appeared to direct TAYM: The Academy of Youth Mythology at the Royal Festival Hall in the summer of 2011 which was featured on Dazed Digital.
Market research conducted by Felicity into security and surveillance technologies for a company I devised called Panopti.com. The research exercise was conducted at the Gasworks Gallery with a group of respondents from the Louis Vuitton Young Arts Project, and similar exercises were formerly conducted at the Lift Festival for Speed Data Radio and at The Montague Arms for Ladies Night.
Audience evaluation exercises conducted by Felicity for Rational Rec from January to March 2008 at their regular season 1-3 venue the Bethnal Green Working Men's Club and at a one off event they curated for the Spitalfields Festival. The latter exercise was designed to evaluate the audiences appreciation of contemporary classical music and test their musical ability, through a series of questions, anatomical measurements and responses to sounds, images and objects. Felicity concluded her work for Rational Rec with a presentation of her Quantifying Rational Recreation report on the BBC Radio 3 Hear and Now show in October 2008.
An interactive personality questionnaire conducted by Felicity helping participants to identify the basis of their motivations, and recognise their potential for moral, social and economic transformation. The Motivation Game was conducted at the South London Gallery, and was inspired by Milton Bradley’s ‘Game of Life’ and informed by Southwark’s Victorian historical status as ‘The City of Transformations’.
On entry to BonkersFest! on Saturday 19th July 2008, visitors were asked to proceed directly to the Diagnostic Evaluation Machine to receive a normality diagnosis and de-normalisation zone referral. I designed and produced the machine in collaboration with illeboc-r, and it was operated by Felicity Mukherjee and her team of assistants.
On Saturday 1st September 2007 Felicity and her team of assistants conducted a market research exercise for Bonkersfest on Tour at Liberty, a disability awareness festival in Trafalgar Square. In the exercise festival goers contributed to the effective marketing of a new psychotherapeutic treatment that assists the process of ‘de-normalisation’.
Good Vibrations was a market research exercise conducted by Felicity and assistants to help develop marketing and packaging for an electro-therapeutic device (vibrator) used to treat hysteria and other female stress related disorders. It was a live art work commissioned by The Live Art Development Agency for East End Collaborations on 6th May 2007 and the South London Gallery for Bonkersfest on 2nd June 2007.
In 2007 I worked with Arts Catalyst and Scan to hold a seminar on corporate social responsibility and the role artists and activists play in “identity correction” and interrogating the activities of big business, addressing questions such as: Can business ever balance public good with corporate wealth? How do corporations use concepts of “healthy”, “normal”, “good for us” to market pharmaceutical therapies? How do artists critique and challenge the process of big-business PR?
Speakers included Dan Gretton from www.platformlondon.org, Felicity Mukherjee from NFHC International Inc (played by me), Alasdair Hopwood from www.withyou.co.uk, social anthropologist David Leitner from Cambridge, and artist Lucy Panesar (me - played by performance artist Sheila Ghelani).
Felicity Mukherjee first appeared in public on Saturday 27th January 2007 at a Seminar on Misinformation at the University of Cork, an event organised by artist Niamh Lawlor. Felicity gave a unique presentation on 'Information in the Corporate Sector', before offering valuable insight into '½ Smile' therapy, a market research initiative by NFHC International - the fictional corporation that employed Felicity on a regular basis.
Below is an article from Circa magazine, reviewing the presentation by Felicity.