STEVENSON and the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) present New Horizons, a special project by CUSS Group.
New Horizons explores themes of image composition and consumption as well as new modes of production.
Excerpt from CUSS Group’s statement:
The modern history of media, manipulation and propaganda is key to understanding an ominous cultural mood in ‘post-fact’ politics with the internet as the key medium. New technologies alter both the terms of how information is distributed, and how the powerful attempt to control and direct its flow. Through social media and smartphones, propaganda aims to be ‘democratic’; rather than being passive spectators, individuals are networked actors who are the key vectors for spreading new myths. Memes, ‘clickbait,’ viral videos, hysterical news stories all require active, if minimal, participation to be successful. And with participation, marginal groups or ideas can win influence which exceeds their relatively small status off-line. Every personal confessional can be mined through a targeted advertisement, every personal picture broken down into algorithms of money. We therefore see the emergence of participatory propaganda. Rather than being the passive subject, the imagined public is at once the consumer, producer and disseminator of malleable reality. But this process is never seamless. Reality constantly intrudes, like an unwelcome banquet guest. The higher the quality of deception, the higher the risk of the backdrop falling to reveal the cheapness of the set. The dream defaulting on itself.