Imp Kerr

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Imp Kerr (born June 6, 1980, Uppsala, Sweden) is a Swedish-French artist living in New York City, mostly known for her fake American Apparel advertisement campaign. She is The New Inquiry's creative director,[1][2][3] and runs the blog The New Shelton Wet/Dry.

Early life and education[edit]

Kerr spent her childhood and teenage years in Paris, France. She moved to New York in 1999, where she graduated from NYU with a degree in magazine journalism and a minor in philosophy. Kerr has a sister, Rosa, who is three years older than she is.

Some bits of Kerr's life were documented on her blog "stereohell", but most of the content was taken off at the end of 2009. The same content was then reposted, in a fragmented and augmented version, on "shines like gold," an experimental blog[4] she runs for The New Inquiry.

Fake American Apparel ads[edit]

In 2007, Kerr started a fake American Apparel ad campaign in New York, which was covered on several blogs. "For the uninitiated, over the past few months, a NYC prankster has created several bawdy two-color parodies of AA ads complete with real ad headlines."[5][6] On September 9, 2008, a video posted on revealed that the fake ads were Photoshop mockups, something nobody had suspected for one year.[7] American Apparel ran a tribute ad on the back cover of Vice magazine (November, 2008), showing a compilation of the fake ads.[8]

Wall Street Casino[edit]

In December, 2008, Imp Kerr created a set of architectural drawings portraying investment banks as Las Vegas casinos.[9]

Imp Kerr's vision was confirmed by the New York Times, in an editorial titled "Wall Street Casino," published on April 28, 2010: "Banks like Goldman turned the financial system into a casino. Like gambling, the transactions mostly just shifted money around."[10][11]

The drawings were shown in the group exhibition Spacer:One at the Tribeca Grand in New York (2010) [12] and featured in n+1 Occupy #4, April 2012.[13]

DNA-based prediction of Nietzsche's voice[edit]

In 2015, Imp Kerr conceptualized a protocol designed to predict the voice of a deceased person (philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in the case study) based on genotype data.[14][15] To generate the voice, a vocal tract and larynx were 3D-printed. In 2020, researchers used a similar procedure to recreate the voice of a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy -- by 3D-printing a replica of his vocal tract. [16][17][18]

Imp Kerr study was covered and presented as real on the Canadian public radio CBC during the show As It Happens on March 20, 2015,[19][20][21] and commented as a "piece of performance art" elsewhere. "Impressed with the scientific imaginativeness and attention to detail — the artist knows the relevant science (and has a terrific ear for the conventions of scientific communication)," wrote Jason Eisner, Professor at Johns Hopkins University.[22][23]


  1. ^ "Interview With Imp Kerr of The New Inquiry And The New Shelton Wet/Dry". The Huffington Post. March 1, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  2. ^ "Los Angeles Review of Books, 2012". February 7, 2012. Archived from the original on August 6, 2013. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  3. ^ "What We're Reading: Summer Edition, Volume II". The New Yorker. July 5, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  4. ^ "Shines Like Gold". The New Inquiry. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  5. ^ Dildo Holding Sex Toy, Animal New York, May 20, 2008, May 20, 2008
  6. ^ "American Apparel Ad Spoofer Becomes An Art Critic,, August 13, 2008". Gawker. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Fake American Apparel Ad Posters All Photoshopped,, September 9, 2008". ANIMAL. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  8. ^ "American Apparel Successfully Swallows Its Ad Spoofer,, December 4, 2008". Gawker. Archived from the original on 27 March 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  9. ^ Imp Kerr, Strip's Classic Designs, Investment Banks and Other Financial Services Firms, Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2009
  10. ^ Wall Street Casino, New York Times, April 27, 2010
  11. ^ "Central banks are casinos." That is the curt definition the Janus Capital money manager gives them in his monthly outlook letter. "They print money as if they were manufacturing endless numbers of chips that they'll never have to redeem." Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2015
  12. ^ "Spacer:One exhibition at The Tribeca Grand, June 2010". Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  13. ^ n+1 Occupy #4, April 2012 (PDF)
  14. ^ Imp Kerr, DNA-based prediction of Nietzsche's voice, The New Inquiry, March 18, 2015
  15. ^ Leiter Reports, March 21, 2015 Leiter Reports
  16. ^ Voice of a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy reproduced by 3-D printing a vocal tract CNN
  17. ^ Synthesis of a Vocal Sound from the 3,000 year old Mummy, Nesyamun ‘True of Voice’ Nature
  18. ^ Researchers recreate what mummy's voice would have sounded likeCBS This Morning
  19. ^ "The voice of the german philosopher has been brought back to life by science." CBC Radio, As It Happens, March 20, 2015. CBC Radio
  20. ^ As It Happens Podcast
  21. ^ "Nietzsche's voice/music removed online due to copyright." CBC Radio, March 20, 2015.
  22. ^ Language Log, March 20, 2015
  23. ^ Open Culture, March 23, 2015

External links[edit]