A Hollywood blockbuster, a trashy paperback novel you would buy at the airport to ease the pain of a long flight or a general reference to our current socio-political discourse, both resonate through a title of this years iteration of Fotograf Festival. Oxford Dictionary named the term “post-truth” the word of the year 2016. So many aspects of our current climate which previously had a space just in the academic or artistic discussion found their prominent place in the broad public discussion. All the ground bases of our digital age are shaking. Google is being for the first time openly criticised as a tool of manipulation, loosing its status of neutral search engine, founding it’s new unfavourable description as an economically driven biased and selectively interpreting agent. For the idea of the social networks as spaces of open communication and democratic dissemination of information was 2016 also quite harmful. The Guardian called 2016 the year when “Facebook became the bad guy” after all the “fake news” controversies following the US presidential elections putting at the end the white supremacist to a position of one of the most powerful men on the planet. It comes with an unsettling surprise that after Trumps victory sales of old classics like Orwell’s “1984” or Arendt’s “The Origin of Totalitarianism” hipped to the unprecedented levels. Does it mean that people of the western world are starting to think for the first time in decades about the idea of totalitarianism, issue which they didn’t find worth of an attention on their way to the voting rooms?
The question of awareness seems to be of an essence in respect to any current issue. Wikileaks operates since 2006, in 2013 Snowden and Chelsea Manning happened. We all know, or have a possibility to know through their actions and reactions of others how is the original utopian idea of a free democratic cyberspace deformed, ruptured and raped. We all know that every piece of data we share could be watched by an ungraspable “Eye in the Sky” and used agains us, but what actually happened since then? How did we changed our behaviour in the virtual space besides the fact that some of us are putting a piece of a tape over their webcams?
Our freedom to choose is given and still in place. To know and react, to know and ignore or ignore to know. That’s a prerogative of our otherwise flawed system. The question is to which extent should it be possible for us to ignore things at the point when everything that was built since the WWII in the fields of human rights and mutual tolerance is in peril and “post-truth” became our natural environment. Comedians have a tendency to say that they are able to verbalise and point out problems of a society much ahead of journalists and politicians, visual artists like to consider themselves similarly, now when every piece of news seems as the most tragicomic and unpredictable joke ever made, this privileged avant-garde position is lost, putting much more pressure on responsibility of each of us.