State of Concept presents the 2023–2024 program, The truth will not take care of itself from March 2, 2023, to October 31, 2024.
Can the art institution become a care-taker of truth?
Continuing its work through the research platform The Bureau of Care, which examined the ethics and politics of care and how they can inform cultural practice, State of Concept is investigating how two crises that have unfolded in tandem in recent years have been presented in the mainstream: the climate crisis and the refugee crisis. It will be explored how they are both affected by new technologies of surveillance, produced within and outside of Europe, especially in developing economies like Greece. Particularly in the recent decade, we have seen that data, information, and manipulation have played a significant role in key political shifts and interventions.
The two-year program is a response to what we regard as an emergency: truth corrosion. While fake news has a long history, today’s bio-political tactics of power, via big data and surveillance technologies, alter knowledge generation and reality understanding in previously unimaginable ways and speeds. This manipulation is most commonly linked to the production of alternative facts for both environmental disaster and the refugee crisis, which is typically produced through a weaponisation of nature- portrayed as the perpetrator rather than state necropolitics or climate change denial.
Many countries around the world, including Greece, are losing democratic checks and balances as a result of a sometimes manipulated legal system that fails to act when grave violations of individual citizen (and migrant and refugee) rights occur. In some circumstances, the state uses the justice system to criminalize those who speak truth to power. In Greece, it persecutes environmental and human rights advocates while protecting those who pollute, exploit, violate, and survey through inaction.
The current wiretapping scandal involving several EU countries, including Greece, in which dozens of activists and journalists were under surveillance via hacking spyware Predator, is an example of how surveillance technology is used against those who seek to protect the truth: in Greece, civic society activists and journalists. The scandal begs the question:
What can an art institution do if it pretends to be concerned? What should its function be when racist language, fake news, and alternative truths taint our reality and jeopardize our future? How can you refocus people’s attention on the numerous challenges we confront in an age of mistrust, surveillance, and disinformation? In a sea of alternative truths, State of Idea aspires to be a vessel of hard facts and perilous testimonials. How can we “re-invent life through an optimistic future,” as T.J. Demos puts it, to prevent the risk of destroying all life?
“Truth Will Not Take Care of Itself” addresses current issues arising from the nexus between social and environmental justice, as inspired by civic society’s response to today’s sociopolitical problems in Greece and beyond. We propose the institution as a venue for contesting misinformation and right-wing propaganda by the presentation of educated data and facts through a people’s forensics. The initiative will be implemented in two stages, the first of which will begin in March 2023.
Since 2021, State of Concept invites curators, artists and cultural collectives to curate a program: this year we are honored to be working for the second time with Forensic Architecture (FA) and its Berlin-based sister agency Forensis. FA/Forensis presents a new investigation, engulfed by a program revolving around three thematics of investigations they have been working on the last seven years, presented from March 2nd until June 10th. The research will operate as a point of reference for the whole program. Departing from themes that relate to what became known as the refugee crisis and the way surveillance technology and necropolitical tech is related to it, scholars, activists, artists and theorists are invited to think together how to take care of truth in a program that will unfold in the coming months.
State of Concept with Forensic Architecture/Forensis and Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung office in Greece, will be working with affected communities, local activists, legal and investigative teams.
Due to the nature of the program, participants will be announced close to the date of events.
1pm: Press conference at State of Concept, livestreamed via the institution’s Facebook page
Forensis/Forensic Architecture will present a new investigation on Greece.
6pm: Keynote lecture by T.J. Demos, Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture and Director of the Center for Creative Ecologies at the University of California. Round table with Forensic Architecture and a q&a with the audience, moderated by iLiana Fokianaki.
Writer, activist, and professor T. J. Demos discusses his latest research and the need to rethink climate aesthetics and politics in a time when climate denialism and discriminatory politics are infiltrating the mainstream. He will be presenting some new lines of analysis on his current work on environmental violence vis-a-vis political organising and the legacies and mishaps of past environmental justice movements.