To accompany the exhibition The Potemkin Project, at the Slought Foundation, Sam Gregory of Witness and I are holding a discussion titled “Weapons of Perception,” on Friday, November 1, 2019, from 6-8pm. The event has been organized in partnership with the Center for Media at Risk at the University of Pennsylvania, and is part of Slought’s ongoing Photographies of Conflict series.
The Potemkin Project is an exploration of the falsification of reality in media and new frameworks for civic integrity, on display at Slought through November 1, 2019. The exhibit includes Into The Fold Of The True, work which I made while a fellow at the Library of Congress, alongside installations by WITNESS, on synthetic media and deep fakes; Global Voices, on threats to online expression around the world; Bellingcat, on the online forensic investigation into the downing of MH17 over Ukraine in 2014; and projection artist Robin Bell, on the people who work in the power structures that govern us. These works and projects share a common inquiry into the many media forms that assert authority over our perceptions, and of the logic that underpins those claims. They explore how media events drive and shift real-life events, from the history of war propaganda to current obsession with disinformation; from the hype surrounding virtual reality to the effects of so-called deep fakes and synthetic media.
This event will explore the enduring fascination with images in relation to mechanisms of control, surveillance, restrictions on rights, and misinformation by governments and their agents as well as technology companies. We will focus on likely scenarios for the future, and lines of tension and conflict in the use of imaging as a means of influence, control, and creation. We will also discuss projects and ideas for retaining and expanding integrity and trustworthiness in civic life. How can we use imaging technologies ethically and creatively? How can we read images critically in an era of easy manipulation and the discrediting of authenticity? How can we retain our privacy, autonomy and rights to expression?