w a t c h w o r d s - season 1
Are we naive to believe that what we read or hear should be true? I don't think so. But we are naive if we believe that everything we read or hear is true.
There is an obvious difference.
Perhaps that difference is more about who we believe and why?
Unconsciously our confirmation bias, a tendency to look for things that bear out what we already believe, locks us, especially online, into virtual echo chambers where we can unwittingly find ourselves confined. Social media is predicated on our human need to belong, structured in full knowledge that our objective thinking will be further constrained by group dynamics, by mutual appreciation protocols.
This entrapment is all the more astonishing when we consider that these constraints, these prison walls, are not real. But within them we are vulnerable, at the mercy of information broadcast and shared within our 'circle' that we feel no need to verify, information that can be fake, only partially true or far from impartial. Information that duplicates and rapidly gains perceived validity as it echoes back and forth across our social media.
The words that find their way into these systems are what now shape our lives. They get there through a system of infiltration. Our details are harvested, tailored and used invisibly against us to influence our decisions, from what to buy, who to believe and how to vote - things are 'placed' and group dynamics can be relied upon to do the rest.
Does what we believe matter? By believing without question what we see, read or hear, the power to have what we might want is no longer ours, we are at their mercy, at the mercy of those who are willing to blur the lines between true and false with competing truths and alternative facts, whose only interest is in what they want.
Interim Exhibition, Hereford, February 2019
W A T C H W O R D S - Season 1 is not specifically about social media but is an invitation to think about what someone might want you to believe and why they might want you to believe them.
"My point is not that everything is bad, but that everything is dangerous, which is not exactly the same as bad. If everything is dangerous, then we always have something to do. The ethico-political choice we have to make every day is to determine which is the main danger." Michel Foucault