by Antoinette LaFarge
It matters what stories we tell to tell other
stories with.… It matters what stories
make worlds, what worlds make stories.
—Donna Haraway, “SF: Science Fiction, Speculative
Fabulation, String Figures, So Far”
It sometimes seems that we live in an era of ubiquitous fakery. Indeed, there is now an entire vocabulary to encompass shades of deception that leave the propaganda and disinformation of past generations in the dust. Now we live with fake memoirs and deepfake videos, catfishing and sockpuppetry on social networks, astroturfing (fake grassroots efforts), and an entire rainbow of washings: whitewashing, greenwashing, purple, red, pink. In the realm of film and video alone we find docufiction, docudrama, pseudo-documentary, fake-fiction, mockumentary, and reality-TV parsing out differences in the compounding of truth and fiction that sometimes seem almost too subtle to grasp. Accompanying this shift from the early information age to our current “infocalypse” era of rampant misinformation, a form of art has emerged that likewise traffics in deception, placing itself right at this potent junction where fiction and fact make contact. But instead of following the current pressure to choose sides—especially, to choose the moral high ground of fact and truth as a bulwark against a tide of “lying liars”—there is a group of artists who take a different path, one that confounds fact and fiction in complicated ways. One that indeed celebrates a state in which the two cannot be simply or securely separated into opposing camps. [Read more…]