Saskia Fischer

Conspiracy of the Real

Artistic Perspectives in a Post-Truth Climate

One day event, Thursday, 3 May 2018

This day-long event, organised by Goldsmiths MFA Fine Art students and hosted by Tenderpixel, sets out to consider how the arrival of Post-Truth is indicative of the current media-political situation through an exhibition, performance, screenings and invited speakers. How is Post-Truth different from historical forms of propaganda and what is the role of technology, specifically the dissemination and production of data, in this shift? How might artists respond to a context in which our trust in politics has become contaminated through algorithmic targeting, ‘false speech’ and ‘fake news’? How can artists address the formulation of misinformation through their practices and our current technologies? 

The information mining of big data by corporations and governments is concurrent with a significant shift in modes of art practice in probing what is represented, known, disputed or proved.* The exhibition pursues a similar line of enquiry by drawing attention to the processes behind representation and the systems of influence. These artists explore the changing relationship between fact and fiction through a lens of reflexivity, examining not only mediated realities but also the very tools of mediation. 

Joseph Steele’s projects explore conspiracy and propaganda. His documentary Meanwhile in Afrin (2018) focuses on the Turkish backed invasion of the Kurdish majority enclave of Afrin, Northern Syria. The film analyses the techniques deployed by the Turkish state to sell their narrative back to the Turkish population, and attempts by activists to counteract the state’s account of these events. Varvara Shavrova in her film The Flying Carpet (2018) shows how a legacy of survival and rescue against-all-odds was tarnished by conspiracy. Here the facts and fictions become blurred, drawing attention to the attempts by the Stalinist state to cover up the purges of Soviet citizens. Johanne Wort’s video The Potemkin Page (2018) is a journey through layers of digital façade and fakery, which exploits the Potemkin village analogy for deception. Paul Gaudet’s live performance entitled A Glimpse Inside (Introducing Darren Reeves) (2018) gives an insight into the mindset of a “conspiracy theorist” whilst challenging the viewer to decide what is fact or fiction. 

* Hal Foster, ‘Real Fictions’, Artforum, April 2017



3.00 – 4.10pm, Screening Programme 
Héloïse Delègue, Beverley Gadsden, Varvara Shavrova, Marios Stamatis, Joseph Steele, Emily Willey, Johanne Wort

4.30 – 6.00pm, Talks
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4.30 – 5.00pm, Ellen Kenyon Peers, ‘Ana Key is Imagining Utopian Futures: Can art be used as a tool for change in contemporary politics?’
5 – 5.30pm, Emily Rosamond, ‘Distortions’
5.30 – 6pm, Simone Rowat, ‘Forensic
6.00 – 6.10pm, Guest Film Screening, Joey Holder, ‘Adcredo’ (2018)
6.10 – 7.00pm, Q&A 

7 – 9pm, Exhibition Opening
8 – 8.10pm, Performance, Paul Gaudet, ‘A Glimpse Inside (Introducing Darren Reeves)’, Performed by Darren Reeves (2018)
Exhibiting Artists, Héloïse Delègue, Beverley Gadsden, Paul Gaudet, Samantha Greer, Parinot Kunakornwong, Norman Mine, Denis Mortell, Miriam Naeh, Serkan Sarier, Varvara Shavrova, Marios Stamatis, Joseph Steele, Emily Willey, Johanne Wort

Conspiracy of the Real: Artistic Perspectives in a Post-Truth Climate was developed by:
Paul Chapellier, Héloïse Delègue, Saskia Fischer, Beverley Gadsden, Paul Gaudet, Samantha Greer, Parinot Kunakornwong, James Low, Norman Mine, Denis Mortell, Miriam Naeh, Phillip Reeves, Serkan Sarier, Varvara Shavrova, Marios Stamatis, Joseph Steele, Emily Willey, Johanne Wort. Project supervision by: Kate Pickering and Sam Plagerson. Special thanks to Michael Newman and Borbála Soós. Produced in collaboration with Tenderpixel and the MFA Fine Art programme at Goldsmiths College.