Last week, Liverpool’s FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) celebrated the opening of it’s latest exhibition – the highly anticipated How Much of This is Fiction.
The title is a direct reference to the white neon sign by Maia Gusberti, originally created in 2014. The title first poses what seems like a question, but on reflection can be read as a clear statement. By hanging the sign in the foyer of the FACT building, the curators set the somewhat uncomfortable and unsettling tone for the exhibition as it raises questions as to how much on display is fabricated or a complete hoax, and how is this a reflection on the state of our contemporary collective imagination.
Featuring installation works by Maia Gusberti, !Mediengruppe Bitnik, UBERMORGEN, and new commissions by Morehshin Allahyari, HeHe and Ruben Pater, the exhibition seeks to address one of today’s most urgent political issues: the radical shift in the boundary between fiction and reality in public discourse, in a world increasingly governed by ‘post-truth’ politics.
The exhibition is structured into two principal areas, Zone 1: The Newsroom and Zone 2: Guantanamo Bay Museum for Art and History. The Newsroom explores fabricated ‘news fictions’ or known as of late as ‘alternative facts’, where deception has interfered with the media landscape and transformed it into a platform for discussion and debate. The Guantanamo Bay Museum for Art and History presents a series of interconnected installations revealing how the trickster ethos is used to address a number of urgent related themes and issues.
As part of the opening symposium, I attended a talk entitled, “How Much of This is Fiction: ‘Dark Jesters’ in the Spotlight.” This allowed the exhibition curators Annet Dekker and David Garcia, along with a handful of the artists to discuss their work and the inspiration behind it.
Perhaps what drew my attention the most, was the cinematic film trailer La Révolte de Tremblay en France by HeHe. Inspired by the 1968 British drama ‘If…’, the trailer depicts a revolt of school children in Tremblay, a suburb in Paris often characterised by the media as a suburban dystopia. In contrast, the reality is a school situated in a residential environment which differs significantly from the media’s portrayal. Through this piece, HeHe reveals the falsehood that the media perpetuates and explores what rebellion means to children of a nation with a history marked by revolution.