Poor Copy is a body of work comprising new moving-image and performance by Beth Emily Richards, investigating historical narratives and archival fragments of Michael Jackson’s visits to Devon, UK, during the early 2000’s. These stories act as a nexus to explore ideas of personal and public archives of a regional history that have transcended into urban legend. Using archival photos and video, press reports, interviews and fan art, the work investigates the intersection of history and myth, global and local performance, and hoaxes and disbelief in relation to pop cultural icons, celebrity, fame and the media.
Beth Emily Richards is an artist, researcher, associate lecturer, and producer. Her work investigates contemporary mythmaking, often exploring popular culture and its associated idiosyncratic subcultures. Frequently the work seeks to complicate narratives by re-performing them in ways that use absurdism and failure to undermine dominant histories. She is a funded PhD student in the Theatre and Performance department at the University of Plymouth, researching ‘producerly’ art-making methods used by fandoms, reenactors, and artists, and their relationship with contemporary myth-making. She works as a creative producer for Take A Part, a socially engaged arts organisation in the South West of England. Recent exhibitions include: Poor Copy, The Northern Charter, 2018; Hummadruz, Newlyn Art Gallery, Cornwall, 2018; EMERGENCY, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, 2017. In November 2017 she will exhibit in a two-person exhibition with Owen G. Parry, Transition Two, London.