Post Post-truth and on a new quest to find another truth.

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Since the hand in of our project on post-truth I have had the time to reflect on my recent findings. My slow work process which demands, revision after revision after revision, like a painter applying a paintbrush to a canvas carefully repeating the same movement over and over again, demands more preparation. Art is much more inclusive and diverse than any other discipline due to its use of so many different mediums, way of thinking and demand in research and introspection.

 

What is art?

 

What is art? I have been asking myself that question since I started this course. What is creativity? What is it I’m trying to make and create? What am I exploring? Who is this for? What is any of it for? Many questions remain unanswered hence the creation of this sort of project which aims to document my journey on understanding art, the way it affects me and other people.

I’m hoping that by using this blog and my other social media pages this documenting of my experiences, researches and findings will help me understand, develop and transform my art practice.

The best way I feel I can find my art style, is through experimentation and working with other people. I made the mistake on focusing too much on the idea without making anything for a while on the post-truth assignment and now more ideas are coming because I made the video, the song and the poems. Looking at other peoples work in the classroom during the presentation also gave me so much insight into what could’ve been done with my project and my presentation.

During the presentation of my work I mentioned that I didn’t feel it was the best work I had made but I still fill it is the most significant one. This was due to the process that went to create this piece. Reading articles on the truth, watching people talk about the post-truth era from different perspectives, the variety in which post-truth affected the world, from art to politics to sociology and academics astonished me. So many articles, reports and Ted talks was consumed I felt my brain was going to explode. “Digital Quest” (DQ) embodies that journey online looking for the truth on post-truth. I wanted to portray mass information and constructed narratives which are the main themes of post-truth. From reality to fiction the world fluctuates between the two in this post-truth era.

I never liked to call myself an artist because I thought it was pretentious and I’d say depending on the conversation “I’m a photographer. I’m a video editor. I’m a singer.” As if any of these sounded less pretentious. I really didn’t see myself as an artist but more as a philosopher (we now enter the mind of the egomaniac). I like to think, play with ideas, discuss those ideas with other people. I realise I did not see myself as an artist because I was not thinking like one. My photography skills were mainly used to make my subject look pretty or nice to look at and I used video editing to create narratives and musical clips.

Using artistic processes I want to create a more intimate but abstract narrative in my next work. I am currently in the process of making a set of artefacts as part of my module “Artwork and Audiences”.

The subjects explored are nature, civilisation, technology, power and control. Using various medium I want to expose the dichotomy between nature and technology. Civilisation constantly tries to control its environment but nature always takes back its rightful place eventually.  In “eco-system” I’m using organic plants and pieces of electronics and machinery to create a narrative. Where technology is used to protect nature and provide a safe environment for it grow and live with us in harmony. The grotesques pieces will provide a contrast view of what civilisation does instead.

Using the space at Hoults Yard I hope to create an interesting and interactive display for people to enjoy. On my next article I’ll show pictures and explain the process and thinking  for this piece in a bit more detail.

 

A

HSS8120 Manifesto “Digital Quest”

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More and more men and women are exposed and seen for who they truly are. Still they manage to sway a good number of people. Thanks to misinformation and falsehoods these individuals thrive in the world like never before. Coming from a dictatorship I’ve had the experience to live in a place where the truth was not common in politics. Propaganda and very few announcements regarding the country’s current affairs appeared on the news. I preferred watching Cartoons anyway.

My interest in politics only really started when coming to the UK and having internet at home. Back home I could only access the internet either at school, my step-dad’s work or an internet cafe. With this new unrestricted access to the web, I was astonished by how much I didn’t know about my home and the world around me. A thirst for all knowledge took over me dabbing in politics, philosophy, psychology, art, religion, history, physics, I.T. and more esoteric subjects like the occult, the supernatural,  Conspiracy theories, Ancient civilisations, World myths and Mythologies.

It wasn’t text book stuff, no one was telling me what I could or couldn’t read. It was a freedom I had never experienced before. My digital fluency came from years of trial and error and learning what looks like reliable information. My uncle acted as father figure when I came to the UK, always pushing me to challenge my views and the information I found online. I remember him saying it would be something I would always have to strive for.

However, my brain can be like a hyperactive sponge. Often I need to find out every detail about a subject in order to form a comprehensive mental map of the knowledge acquired. This has sent me on endless hours of reading and multiple tabs opening. This process can be quite exhausting especially when you’re looking for the definition of a word and up watching a 3 hours lesson on Quantum Physics and gravitational waves.

Like a scavenger in a wasteland of information I dig and find digital clips. At first glance they seem banal  and unrelated but by putting them together we can slowly start to create something  Using an amalgam of hip-hop funk and electro music I created, using various sound samples and videos found online, a video where I explore the idea of post-truth, mass information and technology.  Drawing on the traditions of Experimental filmmaking “Digital Quest” is a short film which explores an era of short attention span and information overload which can be arguably said to help ensure a post-truth society.

The digital age has given us more than ever before the ability to influence our realities. Our civilisation relies on technology for everything, to eat, to educate ourselves, to research, to work, to communicate with each other, to organise ourselves, to create, to heal our minds and our bodies. According to a report by the Office for National Statistics “in 2016, almost all adults aged 16 to 24 and 25 to 34 years were recent internet users (99.2% and 98.9% respectively)”. According to another report, “truth, lies and the internet a report into young people’s digital fluency” by Jamie Bartlett Carl Miller,  despite growing up with technology young peoples technical savvy is pretty poor with “only one third of 9 – 19 have been taught how to verify the validity of online information”.

This is telling us many things. One of which is that we are raising a generation of mindless robots. Easily influenced by the constant bombarding of information this can be very dangerous for the future of society. Many marketing technics already makes the use of emotional triggers to sell, it can be said of post-truth to be of the same kind of process, making you feel before you think. With ignorance and misinformation we are easily triggered into making the wrong decisions.

I believe education and digital savvy will help create a better world on the never ending quest of scientific research.

 

 

HSS8120 Documentation

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It’s 9:42pm I’m eating a chocolate chip brioche. Working on the last songs and videos, I’m worried, perplexed. Will this be good enough? Will I be able to portray my vision? As we close in on the hand-in date I feel anxious but creative. more ideas come in as I polish the last details. I want to finish this. I have to finish this.

During the Christmas holidays when I told my mother about the post-truth assignment and my worries she said “It sounds like you’ve got quite a lot on your plate. My advise to you is make sue you write all your ideas down.”

My Diary helps me keep track of my thoughts. My mind is hyperactive, I write something down, I stop for a second and at that moment my train of thought is gone. Words. Words. Words.  My writing is frantic, looking for what will transmit, it’s unreadable like hieroglyphs. Well you can read some of it.

Here I’ll show you:

 

20170120_052112 20170120_052042 20170120_052203 Diary4 Diary3

 

Doing this has helped me in my creative process. Even just writing a word down sparked new ideas and inspiration.  Taking me in a completely different direction to my original thoughts. Visualising my thoughts helps generate ideas and with it a better better understanding of my creativity and my work process.

 

HSS8120 Echo chamber

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Listening to some hip-hop jazz on Youtube I was inspired to write this song. A cross between hip-hop Jazz and electro Echo Chamber was inspired by the coming of age of post truth. Truthiness.

 

After looking at the madness of the world, insanity

The expression of a reverb melody,

I deliver this piece, this segment of me

A bass symphony echoing ever so slightly

Into the ears of my frenemies, classic music

Long lasting peace is full of tricks, getting lazy

Politicians and scientists are violently 

hated as much as catholic terrorists

In a world ruled by false promises and post-truth politics

Like the water lily on the surface of the lake

Peace and tranquility brings stagnation to our race

 

Blinded by the new light,

I bid you farewell and goodnight

 

But I say fire and blood will outrage, enrage the nation

Will Chaos and murder spark the next evolution

Existence is just a phase, just a game

Insert a coin, same face on a different surface

Truths or lies they usually feel the same way

No matter who plays it always end up the same way

High stakes, never played before? Doesn’t matter

One false step and it’s all over game over,

Placing bets on the new false prophets coming forth,

Lying about anything like never before,

 

Blinded by the new light,

I bid you farewell and goodnight

 

Believe their lies and you suffer the risk to trigger

An insidious disease for the mind, Bullshitter

But you gotta believe in your power to deliver

Rhymes raging like fire, flowing like water

Under the sun, who is the father, I am the son

Looking under the veil of the rising sun

 

Blinded by the new light,

I bid you farewell and goodnight.

 

M. R.

HSS8120 Reliable sources of information in a Post-Truth era

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Traditionally we are used to get our news from newspapers, the radio and television. As previously discuss this has tremendously changed with the advances made in technology and the proliferate use of the internet.

The decentralisation and widespread of knowledge empowered a new generation of people. Many hoped that the Internet would become a beacon of hope for humanity, the tool that would unite mankind. It was supposed to make us more tolerant toward each other and free us from the shackles of politicians and men of power.

As discussed in my previous article, however, the power of the Internet and media can be used to manipulate our views and further polarise people. Search engines and social media pages, powered by algorithms, show you information based on your preferences effectively forming a bubble around you were it is almost impossible for you to find information you did not expect or opposite to your point of view.

Arguably the Internet is, if not the best human invention, in the top 10 best human inventions. The way it affects our lives in the real world, our relationship with each other, our creativity and even our way of thinking is paramount. Although it can be used to quickly spread dubious claims and false information the opposite is also true. In a society thatis increasingly relying on the Internet and online services, it is very important to discern fake information from real information and differentiate between fact and opinions.

Human’s tendency to instinctively accept information that feels right as fact needs to be constantly challenged. More than ever before people must be taught how to recognise biased information in order to protect democracy. We do not want to end up like Russia where no one knows what is real anymore. In that respect, in order to survive in a post-truth world, more and more expert bodies and independent research groups are needed to form and offer factual open source information. These could hold accountable any person or entity trying to pass non factual information as such by increasing reputational consequences.

More fact checking websites are needed in order to keep debunking myths and counter the quick spreading of false information and rumours. Recently news site CNN featured a screenshot of video game Fallout 4 in a story about Barack Obama expelling Russian diplomats following accusations that they had interfered in the US elections. Reddit users were however quick to show the origins of the photo. This isn’t the first time a news channel has used a screenshot of a video game as part of a news story and it probably won’t be the last therefor the need for Guardians of the truth is becoming increasingly central to saving democracy and freedom of mind.

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Picture source: Reddit

Our moral duty now is to make sense of the information given to us and make sure we understand it. The message we pass on and share when debating or talking with others must be genuinely true. This would allow us to use the power of information and social media for good. In my previous post I mentioned how social media was used during the Arab Spring to fight against their corrupt governments and dictators. Around the world more and more people are able to speak out against their governments. More recently a video where a soldier alleged to the bad working conditions and shortage of food in the Indian army went viral. This prompted the Indian home minister to start an enquiry into the matter. In Mexico social media is actively used to find and combat governmental corruption. We can see the positive impact of the internet here and it’s refreshing.

Fact checking Organisations and independent research groups are continuously forming, fact checkin services are multiplying..Already labelling stories as opinion or related, Google has now even launched a “fact check” label appearing on Google News and other websites who apply to be featured. The New York times also runs a fact check site keeping tabs on the 2016 election. “Africa Check “is another one of these groups, a South-Africa based non-profit, who raise the quality of information available on the continent. All is still not lost and we can see that Guardians of the truth are quietly but surely coming. It is now our responsibility to find the information that we need, websites such as PolitiFact can teach you how to fact check and offer you the tools to do so, independent source of news such as The Conversation can offer you more factual and researched base information.

As I finish to write these lines, listening to Harry Frankfurt’s charismatic voice on Youtube, I can’t help but think that this post-truth era is going tremendously change us and our way of life.

I am however full of hope concerning the next few years of our lives in the current political and social climate of the world. Almost as if walking on a fine thread between order and chaos, the fragility of the world and our reality becomes more and more apparent to our societies. The mistrust in our establishment and ourselves is driving an increasing wedge between us but there is hope. We can see the battles between ourselves are unfolding with some pretty interesting results. How these results are going to affect us? No one really knows. However as ever before I quietly watch, almost with a detached but sympathetic look, at the unfolding of these events…Leaving you with some wise words by Philosopher Harry Frankfurt.

“Our natures are, indeed, elusively insubstantial—notoriously less stable and less inherent than the nature of other things. And insofar as this is the case, sincerity itself is bullshit.”

― Harry G. Frankfurt, On Bullshit

HSS8120 “Post-Truth” Oxford Dictionaries word of the year

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Childhood is bliss and there is no better time to make memories.

In June1997 a civil war broke out in the Republic of the Congo. My parents made it their main objectives to get my sister and I out of the country as soon as possible to family relatives and we ended up living in France for a year and a bit. I recall that time away from home to be very stressful and distressing. I missed everyone, my family and my friends and being in a foreign land brought its lot of challenges. All I wanted was to get back together with my family and my friends. I understand what its like to have to leave your home for another safer place and it’s quite interesting to see how people on the other side sees things.

Since moving to the UK,  I have noticed that refugees were frequently portrayed or regarded as some kind of free loaders coming to this country to take advantage of the system. David Cameron speaking during a visit in Vietnam “you have got a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean, seeking a better life, wanting to come to Britain because Britain has got jobs, it’s got a growing economy, it’s an incredible place to live “ .

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Politicians have been heard using language which effectively dehumanise a group of people and install fear in the minds of the population.

During the Brexit referendum the Leave campaigners, including UKIP, could be seen using racist rhetorics and deceptive facts on immigration to win support. Polling data gathered by various polling agencies, such as IPSOS MORI, revealed that the number of people who voted Leave had the least exposure to people from other cultures while the ones with more exposure would’ve been more likely to vote Remain. Arguably the fear of the other and misinformation led the Leave camp to victory.

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“Post-truth” perfectly describes political culture where it’s acceptable to say things which have no factual basis in order to divide people. Surely that’s just called lying? I mean surely someone should be held accountable. How can we hold these people accountable? Is it possible that the mass of information at our disposal is making it easier for us to be deceived and manipulated?

Maybe.

When what feels true is more important than the facts, political figures such as Donald Trump and Nigel Farage have an easy time, reinforcing prejudice by saying things that are not true but appeal to people’s sentiment of anger, division and ignorance.

bojo

It can be argued that the mistrust in politics and politicians along with social media and the mass of information online, helped create a situation where people only look for information that validates their views and opinions.

Social media allows for these people to get heir news and information in various format and not just a  newspaper article anymore. Anybody can quickly pass around a fake story that will sound real and people can easily triggered emotionally by something like that and they will not hesitate to share it on their social media page. We’re slowly starting to see how this could be used to affect politics and exacerbate polarisation.

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In the United Kingdom the best example of it can be seen with the Brexit referendum and how the Leave campaigners, most notably Nigel Farage, did not hesitate to mislead people into thinking that the £350m EU membership fee would be poured into the NHS if the UK left the EU. In the United States, Donal Trump said that he would build a wall between the US and Mexico as a viable solution to reduce and control  illegal immigration. He also did not hesitate to go as far as to say “They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists” in regards to Mexican immigrants.  That man is due to take office in just a little over a week from now. Things are starting to get messed up.

Many hoped to see the internet become a tool to free and bring people together via the widespread of information and communication. We saw a glimpse of it with the Arab spring, where a series of anti-government protests and uprisings spread across Northern Africa and the Middle East. Many groups formed on social media and organised themselves to take to the streets of their countries. This empowered many people and reinforced the idea that the internet and social media could be used to change the world and free people.

I think it is important that we do more research regarding the internet and how it could be used to filter through the mass of information at our disposal to find the truth.

As the internet evolves so do we and our relationship with each other changes. This powerful engine can be used in many ways to create and interact with each other.

In my next article I’ll be exploring how the internet and open source investigation can be used to find information and how intelligence gathering can help find the truth in this post truth era.

Mevars Raen

HSS8120 Art manifesto attempt #1

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20/12/16

Inspired by Diebenkorn’s “Notes to myself on beginning a painting“, I’m attempting to explain to myself how I start anything in general. These are ten points of artistic intentions and my own sort of wisdom. I’m hoping this will deepen further my understanding of my way of working and maybe alter my perception of my work ethic.

  1. First, do nothing. Let the mind wonder, ponder and contemplate.
  2. Read, watch, listen to different subjects and unrelated ideas. Sometime the source of inspiration comes from a completely different sphere of knowledge or interest.
  3. Do not be afraid to change or alter your initial idea completely if you must. Do not be complacent in your thinking. Clarity is key.
  4. Attack each task, even the boring ones, with cheerful readiness.
  5. Do not be delusional, focus on what you can do, accordingly plan what you’re going to do first.
  6. Stop planning, start making.
  7. Make mistakes, keep making mistakes. Mistakes are a good way to learn. As long as you lear from them.
  8. Control is just an illusion. Relenquish it, do what you can do and tolerate that things might go wrong.
  9. Be bold and adventurous, but be careful and conservative at the same time.
  10. You are your own centre. You are god personified in the material realm. Your creation is god’s creation, the expression of the human soul. The cosmos personified. Trust in your own way.

 

Mevars Raen

HSS8120 Documentation or the art of writing stuff down and keeping track of things

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18/12/2016

 

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Documentation has always felt like a chore to me. I either forget or not do it at all. To me it just doesn’t feel right for some reason. Is it laziness? Is it an unwillingness to have my thoughts explored? Is it justp lain bad practice? Am I afraid of my weaknesses? Am I still afraid or frustrated by my own mistakes? Or am I just an idiot who doesn’t know how to organise himself? Probably all of that.

During my undergrad I seldom took notes in class. Whenever I did I ended up with unintelligible information from different subjects spread acccross loose pieces of paper in my bag, never to be looked at again. usually they ended up in the bin.

That changed, over the last two years. Working as a “charity mugger”, before going onto the “field”, it was important to be ready. Memorising your pitch, practicing, making notes of any information given to you by senior staff and by clients, which could be useful at any time and was key to go up in the professional ladder. Clarity was key, to deliver a perfect pitch and sell. My note making process became quite extensive thoughout that period and when I left the company I worked for I realised that habit of making notes had stayed and started to spill over into my other practices.

For music, I always make sure to record sounds, noises and rehearsal sessions with my band,  because you never know what you might get inspired by. I properly file and name audio tracks, grouping them together by dates and obviously back them up onto external hard drives and dropbox.

I have a similar process for photography and video, where I film or take pictures of whatever looks nice or intrigues me. Most of the time they end up just clogging up the space on my phone or some hard-drive. Every so often I’ll use an old photo of some dead pigeon from back in 2008 or some weird angled photo of a door in one of my projects and I’m always gald that I keep those.

Actually would that be more archiving?

It’s interesting because I say that I find documentation to be a chore when I essentially do that on a daily basis without even thinking anymore. If I have an idea I write it down, if lyrics comes to mind I write them down, if I need to do something I write it down. I actually really like writing stuff down.

With social media for example we have a sort of documentation of our lives, interests and opinions since the creation of our pages. Facebook offers a timeline of what you’ve posted from the beginning of your page creation to now offering a good opportunity for introspection and shame…

Obviously social media is not a complete reflection of who is behind the screen, It is rather easy to customise your page to look and feel and come across whichever way you would like to. People have been doing it for years but personally I like to share my thoughts on there and every so often I like to go back to the beginning and see how my thoughts and opinions progressed over the years. It gives me time to ponder.

Over the years I also took part in blog writting, still keeping one right now for my photos and videos. I might start adding some lyrics and poetry on there actually. Anyway the thing I enjoyed the most was being able to express myself on a platform that was mine to customize and share with the world. I created my first blog when I was 16, writting whatever the hell was going through my mind. I found that blog a few monts ago, safe to say it was deleted swiftly.

In my first year of university, I remember that as part of one of our modules, we were asked to keep a record of our progresses for the building of a remote controled car. At first we were lazy about it, writting the bare minimum. Eventually we came to realise how crucial it was to keep track of the difficlties we encountered on the way and how we dealt with them. This not only gave us an idea of what we’d been doign since the start but made it easier for our teacher to gauge our thought process for the task and  how we dealt with problems that arose.

However even though documentation is useful and gives you a clear view of your progress, if the documentation is not regularly carried out then you get a blurry picture of what’s happened. Making it harder to deal with issues if you can’t remember how you dealt with them originally.

I think there’s different ways to document your work. Some will feel mroe familiar and comfortable and others a bit more challenging and out of our comfot zone.

After writing this entry however, I’m actually looking forward to this ongoing documentation of my work. It’s already giving me ideas for another project of mine.

It is not only going to be good practice to do this but it will also give me the opportunity to understand myself in a different way and offer some vision and clarity concerning my work ethic.

From what inspires me, to how I get inspired, to how I work and even how to use that as part of my work, I’m keen to see how documentation will affect me.

Clarity is power, purpose is drive.

Ares Rabe

Mars Raven

Rars Maven

Revars Maen

Mevars Raen

I like that, Mevars Raen. Boom! New nom de plume.

Hello world!

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Welcome to Newcastle Digital Media Sites. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

 

I am the man of no man’s land

From sunny shores I come forth

Congo is where my existence commence

Under the palm trees born

Unfamiliar is my appearance

They called me exotic

Black sun born under the tropics

Invisible city of no pain and no worries

Pointe Noire is the name of my city

Hakuna Ma Tata

Mais quelle phrase magnifique

For a time it felt like the Abyss

Falling in a dreamless pit

Performing an endless dance

Survival between two lands

Not accepted here or there

I have no home anywhere

My skin colour is a mantle

It makes my own people lose their mental

Always asking me “Where are you from?”

Grasped by hesitation I struggle

Just for a second

But then I respond

“I come from Kingdom Come,

Blessed by the stars and the sun

I am the King to come”

And they respond with

“Blasphemy, you will pay for this travesty

The old man in the sky will strike you down

How dare you elevate yourself to the status of a king?”

I confidently respond “Your pagan god do not scare me.

Your way is the way of the slave and the weak.

Subjecting yourself to the bribery,

you bargain for your life and the afterlife.

Weak minded you’re incapable of loving someone that doesn’t see like you or think like you.

Your god will never strike me down, for I am god personified.

The power of creation is mine, given to me by the only true god of this life. “

How is knowledge trustworthy

When you live in complete anarchy

Fantasy life has turned to D&D

Roll of Dice but there’s no D 20

Your throat is sliced

You bleeding out

Deaf to the suffering of others you will pay the price

Gold is the resource that control your life

High is the sleazy and down is the mighty

Unable to enjoy the pleasures of life your mind will become hazy

Sleep is the next step of evolution

Sleep is the machine of creation

Dreams are life’s colourful manifestation

Through the mind’s musical vibration

M. R.