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University of Leicester Geographer featured in new novel based on offshore finance

Angus Cameron giving one his talks/performances to a captivated audience.

University of Leicester Geographer featured in new novel based on offshore finance

Lecture on September 19 to form final chapter of crime thriller

Issued on 17 September 2010

A University of Leicester lecturer is soon to appear as a leading character in a crime thriller exploring the world of offshore finance .

Dr. Angus Cameron, a lecturer in Leicester's Geography Department, features in the new novel, Looking for Headless; a semi-fictionalised version of a performance art project by Swedish artists goldin+senneby for which Cameron has acted as international spokesperson/emissary since 2008.

The book tells the story of the hunt for a mysterious offshore company registered in the Bahamas, Headless Ltd. The novel also carries a subplot linking Headless Ltd. to a secret society set up in the 1930s by French writer Georges Bataille called Acéphale (after the Greek for headless).

Written serially as the project has developed over the past three years by author John Barlow (under the pseudonym K.D.), the book is now nearing completion – the final chapter is to be based on a lecture Cameron will give at London Zoo on 19 September 2010.

Cameron's previous contributions to the project (lectures, articles and performances) are all woven into the novel's plot along with those of other participants. The artists, Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby, together forming what they call an 'identity resistant' dual persona, also appear in the book along with a range of other characters; some real, some fictional, some willing, some not. In addition to acting as spokesperson for the project – which involves appearing in place of the artists wherever the project is exhibited - Cameron's research directly informs a central theme of the evolving performance: the complex relationship between real and fictional spaces in the contemporary global economy.

Asked about his potential new-found fame, Dr Cameron spoke of his enthusiasm at being part of the ongoing ‘performance'. He said “I am involved in this due to my research interests and aspects of my life as a lecturer are written into the novel.

“My specific contributions to the project appear in the novel in different forms, merging the real and the fictional. For example, a fairly straightforward lecture I gave in Toronto has now become chapter 8 of the book in which I am portrayed as getting bribed and, because of my increasing paranoia, destroy a computer in a garden shed!” He added that, “Although he carries my name and identity as a lecturer at the University of Leicester, and although many of the words he speaks are mine, the Angus Cameron depicted in the novel remains a fictionalised version of me.”

As the overall performance has developed and attracted increasing international publicity, so involvement has become attractive to offshore companies themselves. goldin+senneby even recently auctioned a character in the novel – bought by an international merchant bank. Cameron says, “ Although offshore companies were initially suspicious of the project, they have begun to be drawn in as they recognise aspects of their business in the strange semi-fictionalised world of Looking for Headless. Reactions to the project and to the novel produced from it vary enormously – but that is part of its purpose: challenging expectations and assumptions.”

The project has taken Cameron to many parts of the world, with exhibitions and publications in Brazil, lectures in Canada, Britain and Spain and performances in Stockholm, Nottingham, London and, most recently, a forest near Paris once frequented by Bataille. As well as the novel, the project has been documented by film makers Richard John Jones and Kate Cooper for a television documentary. Depending upon the success of the novel, it is feasible that the novel could even be adapted for the big screen. However, who would play Cameron in any Hollywood version is still up for debate.

The novel ‘Looking for Headless’ is due for release in 2011.

University of Leicester Newsblog:

Before the (real) talk begins. The artist group take questions.


For more information, please contact Dr Cameron via University of Leicester press office:

Report by David King


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