THE DAILY POST-TRUTH
A collaboration between FBAUL and maat
With Alexandra Midal and Paulo Pena
The Daily Post-Truth is a joint project between the Communication Design Department of the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon (FBAUL) and the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (maat), developed within the scope of maat mode 2020 programme. The project is motivated by a renewed interest in fiction, within artistic practices and design in particular, as one of the discursive modes that is best able to restore a sense of reality in an age governed by post-truth. Within this context, the newspaper, as one of the media that most evidently suffered the effects of disinformation, becomes prone to appropriation and recuperation.
By creatively exploring this publishing model in crisis, while focusing on the tensions between truth and post-truth, fiction and reality, The Daily Post-Truth proposes the development of a newspaper based on the following stages of knowledge production and transmission: 1) Lecture (transmission and reception) – to be held online, on November 27; 2) Workshop (interpretation and formalization); 3) Publication (communication); and 4) Presentation of outcomes (dissemination) – on dates to be announced. The outputs of the project will feed the maat ext. content platform based on inputs from invited speakers, which will be interpreted by Communication Design students. In this process, The Daily Post-Truth uses fiction as a motto for a speculative and critical design practice, which seeks to question the tenets of the dissemination of disinformation in the post-truth era.
Zoom webinar, with projection at maat (Beeline, Stage 1)
15.30 – Welcome by maat and introduction to the programme by FBAUL
16.00 – Conference by Paulo Pena
16.30 – Q&A with Paulo Pena
16.45 – Break
17.00 – Conference by Alexandra Midal (in English)
17.30 – Q&A with Alexandra Midal (in English)
17.45 – Conclusion
Design is Fiction
You have probably seen, here or there, a camp creature torn between the silence of the individual who cannot express him/herself and the chitchat of the prolific marionette: it is the ventriloquist’s dummy. Beyond this obvious and classic metaphor, I would claim that fictional speech conveyed by inanimate design, objects, furniture, dummy or MacGuffin, is essential. More precisely, I will claim that fiction gives voice to the critics of design, especially because it is a necessary and opaque lure. Not only design speaks, but when intertwined with fiction, it becomes a valid and powerful instrument of critic that delivers political issues, in disguise.
Alexandra Midal is an independent curator and a film essayist. Professor in design at HEAD — Geneva, she combines curating with research in visual culture with exhibitions, films, and books. She has curated several shows in museums worldwide: MUDAM (Luxembourg), Wolfsonian (USA), ADAM (Belgium), MAMC (Japan), CAPC (France), etc. Since 2009, she has set up a critical perspective on the history of ideas in a novel visual theory project that manifests itself as films and as The Design Film Festival in New York, Geneva, Istanbul, London… Her last book is entitled Design by Accident: For a New History of Design (Sternberg Press, 2019).
Truth or Lie, Democracy and Populism
Knowing how to differentiate between truth and lies is a problem of our time. An online advertising model based on predicting user behaviour is moulding the way in which we inform ourselves but also how we form our beliefs and validate them. When our opinions are formed without access to verified information, what shape will debate take? And how will we make political choices?
Paulo Pena studied journalism in Lisbon and Washington DC. He was a reporter and editor at the weekly magazine Visão for 15 years. In 2014, he moved to the daily newspaper Público as special correspondent. From 2018 to 2020, he was special correspondent at Diário de Notícias. Pena has won several prizes (for his reporting on the G8 Summit in Geneva, the banking crash in Iceland and labour market reforms). Most recently, he won the Gazeta journalism award for his reporting on the Portuguese banking scandal, which was also published as a book (Jogos de Poder, 2014) and adapted for television (Teorias da Conspiração, RTP, 2019). He has written two non-fiction books, one about the students who opposed the Portuguese dictatorship (Grandes Planos, Âncora, 2001) and another about the disinformation machine and the power of online platforms (The Factory of Lies, Penguin Random House, 2019). He is one of the founders of Investigate Europe, a team of European investigative journalists.