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Live Art on Oxford Street
by Rich Cline • page 3 of 3

joshua sofaer ...back CITY-WIDE ART. More recently Joshua has been moving toward more event-based work, such as Scavengers, where people get a list of clues and have to find things all over the city, then what they find becomes an art exhibition. “It was the most fun I’ve ever given an audience,” he says. “They just worked so hard!”

And last summer he did Crystal Ball at Duckie, which predicted the lives of audience members. “I hired seven experts that dealt with the future: a psychic, a careers advisor, a financial consultant, the president of Age Concern. All these people were lined up and each audience member had 12 minutes each and they built up a portfolio of your future. But that wasn’t me at the front of it; it wasn’t me performing. I just orchestrated it, but it was very good fun to do.”

Joshua is currently working on another big London-wide event, as well as an examination of his relationship with his namesake, who he discovered by chance several years ago. The other Joshua Sofaer is a “proselytising missionary” for Jews for Jesus, a messianic sect based in New York. Joshua went to visit him and spend hours videotaping their conversations. It turns out that they are distantly related through two brothers, Iraqi Jews who moved to Burma.

joshua sofaer FINDING INSPIRATION. “I don’t have an agenda,” Joshua says about future projects, “but I have to be interested in something. I’m not interested in repeating work. I just want to go on to the next thing really. But I suppose there is some effort to try and combine thinking with entertainment, to employ humour, which is often frowned upon in art circles as something that’s lower than high art. But I think humour is totally underrated as a tool, as a force.”

He goes on to say that if there’s one thing he wants to challenge it’s the “increasingly homogenised gay culture. At its worse it can be based around a particular aesthetic, around certain kinds of body or certain kinds of aspiration, and I’m not interested in those at all. Although I am interesting in quite a lot of things gay men are interested in. For instance, shopping is a really big impetus for my work because shopping is increasingly a space of contemplation as well as consumption.” Perhaps this explains why his work keeps returning him to Oxford Street.

Find out even more about Joshua, and buy a copy of the video, at

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Text © 2003 Firststar Ltd • Site © 2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall