To Fake or not To Fake

An artwork that deals with Disinformation originated by scientific data

How can we present findings coming from the “2019 EU Election Observatory” in an unconventional ways?

TFonTF was invited at Countering Online Disinformation European, a Commission Conference at Lace Du Musée that reflect on the progress made and to step up efforts to secure free and fair democratic processes in view of the 2019 European Parliament elections and more than 50 presidential, national or local/regional elections being held in Member States by 2020.

To Fake or not To Fake (TFonTF) is a transmedial artwork which uses data and scientific exploration of digital communication phenomena to expose the processes that are behind Disinformation, and the impacts that it has on our political, informational, communicational, cultural, psychological and social lives.

The spreading of digital news and information through social media highly influences the availability and accessibility of our fundamental rights and liberties. For this reason, it is of crucial importance to put the critical understanding of these phenomena at the center of the public sphere, in culture, so that it becomes an active process of awareness and of participatory social imagination and construction.  On top of that, sociologic and communication research shows how the possibility to approach these matters in ways that are not dialectic is of crucial importance, in order to avoid originating  further polarization.

In this sense, Art and Design are important methodologies, which can be employed in close collaboration and synergy with scientific research.

In TFonTF these aims are achieved in two “artistic” ways, through a micro data-theater performance and a data-powered art exhibit.

The data-theater performance

The micro data-theater performance lasts 20 minutes and is structured in 5 acts.

It narrates the story of “Infosfera”, the Infosphere, as she witnesses disinformation phenomena in the spheres of public communication. Infosfera interacts with a “User”, suspending him from the flow of communication  to become aware, for a short, dramatic moment, of the effects that disinformation has in the world. The story’s plot has a twist which will reveal the User’s true nature, at the end of the play.

The play uses the data and findings coming from the “2019 EU Election Observatory” of the SMART project to expose various recurring patterns and phenomena of Disinformation, transformed into a 3D data-driven info-aesthetic visualizations.

The data-powered art exhibit

The exhibit achieves similar results by way of digital prints that feature the data visualizations under the form of their info-aesthetic representations. These are  artworks that combine the capacity to convey data and their meaning with their aesthetic impact, opening up the possibility for cultural, social discussion.

The digital prints that compose the exhibit show disinformation phenomena as they unfold, through complex network graph visualizations: two polarized opinions as they spread; a fake news about the European Union; different tribes confronting each other around a theme in the news; and the effects of fact-checking in contributing to shape people’s opinions.

Here you can watch an excerpt!

TFonTF was first performed at the HER She Loves San Lorenzo festival for Arts, Data and AI, in Rome, in the Winter Edition 2018.