Trump howls ‘fake news!’, escalating his attacks on CNN and the New York Times and the world scuttles to its corner, shamed. Britain establishes a National Security Communications Unit to counter the growth of ‘alternative facts’, and social media smears ribald campaigns of disinformation like a virus, laying waste to a truth no longer dictated by authorities but networked by peers…
Sorting cold hard facts from the embellished glory of spangled fiction should be a cakewalk, and yet the virulent creep of misinformation is likely to lead to the regulation of social media, raises tensions between nations, and is considered by some to be one of the greatest threats to democracy, free debate and the ‘Western’ order.
The truth has a new shape, all raggedy lines and shadowed form, vacant, abandoned. Clickbait, controversy, sensationalism and spam, the spin swells in soundbites and we are held hostage to a culture of falsity and fear, claim and counterclaim caustic rejoinders in the virulent sluice of the comments section.
In this new world order of ‘filter bubbles’, algorithms and bots, in which partisan news and pop-up websites run by Macedonian teens take centre stage, where is the line in the sand? Does it still exist or are conspiracy and propaganda the forces that erase the tideline each time they surf up from below?
Featuring the work of over thirty multidisciplinary artists, FAKE is a powerful expression of artistic incredulity that – in an era of competing narratives and clouded transparency – considers the pirated, bogus, feigned and forged.
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Image credit: Will Coles