Abel, Alan

Alan Abel (b. 1930) is a prolific contemporary hoaxster who refers to himself as a "professional prankster". Abel is perhaps best known for his creation in the late 1950s of a fictive organization called the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals. SINA's expressed goal of clothing all animals for the sake of modesty afforded Abel a framework within which to put forward a critique of censorship. This initially light-hearted prank gained currency when it was picked up by the mass media and treated as a serious topic, making Abel an early media jammer.

International Corporation of Lost Structures (Suzanne Treister)

The International Corporation of Lost Structures (ICoLS) is an "imaginary ninth dimensional architectural space" that is perhaps most visible through its website. As with other imaginary and fictive institutions, it has a number of highly specialized divisions featuring evocative names, including the Local Unit of Missing Links, the Department of Revolutionary Nostalgia, the Department of Global Disenchantment, and the Department of Dislocated Memory.

ICoLs was founded by Suzanne Treister, who was subsequently joined by Bronia Iwanczak as co-director.

Pataphysics (Alfred Jarry)

Pataphysics is defined by its inventor, Alfred Jarry, as "the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments".  First mentioned in 1893 in Jarry's play Guignol, it has proved to be a lasting source of inspiration to artists, writers (such as the Oulipo group), and thinkers (e.g. Jean Baudrillard).

Institute of Militronics and Advanced Time Interventionality (Rosalind Brodsky)

The Institute of Militronics and Advanced Time Interventionality (Imati) is an imaginary future institution that has, in its own phrase, been " committed to time travel based research since 2005". Imati holds archives relating to the time travels of one Rosalind Brodsky, a delusional alter ego of artist Suzanne Treister. Brodsky's chrono-displacements wearing an Electronic Time Travelling Costume cause her to intersect with widely separated 20th century events (the Russian Revolution, the Second World War, the movie Schindler's List).


The Kingdom of Talossa is a micronation originated by Robert Ben Madison in 1979 (as a child) and subsequently developed in great detail by Madison and other Talossan citizens. Talossa considers itself an independent sovereign nation occupying part of the western shore of Lake Michigan and also claiming the island of Cezembre off the coast of Brittany, France, as well as the "Pengöpäts" Antarctic Territory.

Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles (Marcel Broodthaers)

In 1968, the Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers created an installation in his house that he entitled the Musée de l'Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles, or Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles. This was a fictive entity in that the museum had neither a permanent building nor a collection; nonetheless, it was elaborated by Broodthaers in about a dozen further installations. Evidence of the museum's existence (apart from its title) ultimately encompassed specially created objects, films, and art reproductions as well as ephemera such as wall labels and signage.

Museum of Forgery

The Museum of Forgery identifies itself as a "virtual institution dedicated to promoting an appreciation of the aesthetics of forgery'. Like Broodthaers's Department of Eagles, it is essentially a conceptual project masquerading as an institution to generate critique that appears to come from within the walls of authority. In the case of the Museum of Forgery, this critique revolves around questions of authenticity and ownership of art. Founded in 1990, the Museum of Forgery has no permanent building; its main public portal appears to be its website.

New Society for Universal Harmony (Lenore Malen)

The New Society for Universal Harmony is said to have have been founded as a utopian  “therapeutic community” in Athol Springs, NY, by a Dr. F.A. Mesmer, namesake of the controversial 19th century discoverer of animal magnetism (mesmerism). The name of this group is a direct homage to the Society for Universal Harmony (Société de l'Harmonie Universelle) founded by followers of the original Franz Anton Mesmer.

Institute for the Study of Perpetual E.motion

This institute, which appears to be a web-based entity, describes itself as "dedicated to the scientific study of emotion as relays, networks and vibrations. Our mission is to make visible and audible, emotions that are undetected in everyday life." The mission statement goes on to claim a basis for the research in multiple theories, including an interpretation of string theory that classifies emotions as the fifth force after gravity.

Syndicate content