In the age of false truths, open lies and self promotion where do we find our true-selves?How do we protect our anonymity and personal data? How do we express our views and make commentary without fear of censorship or repercussions?
Throughout history words and images have been used to express personal and emotional reactions to changes in society and the ecology of the planet. Free from the constraints of corporate or political influence the UK population can express their views in a semi-autonomous and independent form.
Other populations around the world are less fortunate with less freedom to say what they think even through the medium of art and performance. But despite the challenges and fear of repercussions over the centuries societies have found ways to work around the lessoning or lack of freedom of speech.
But with the pervasive use of CCTV and now facial recognition and subject identification using biometrics. Societies have a new and unseen force as portrayed in the iconic book Nineteen Eighty-Four written by George Orwell and published in 1949.
Orwell’s dystopian vision describes a society where the population is monitored by a smart TV (telescreen) installed in the home and workplace. Using the telescreen the head of the government ‘Big Brother’ promotes and spreads fear through updates on conflict, treason and rationing. News articles and reports are changed to suit the governments views and aims and the dictionary is manipulated and shrunk to reduce and confuse expression through writing.
Much of what Orwell describes in his story can be related to the political parties campaign advertising of today. Deep fakes, fake news, open lies, news speak, hate crime, monitoring, data harvesting, etc.
Through the medium of film, photography, design and print society has the opportunity to explore the ideas of ‘TRUE’ or ‘FALSE’.
With the emergence of deep fakes and accessible AI (artificial intelligence) we need to learn how to live with news and commentary which may not be true but to some wholly believable. And the more we see the TRUE’ or ‘FALSE’ the more it sticks.
The example work shown on this page represents research into machine learning and facial recognition. The ‘face’ has played a huge part in the rise of social media with the selfie photograph becoming ubiquitous across all digital platforms. With this the contributors have unwittingly fulled machine learning technology with the billions of images it needed to help refine the technology.
My aim is to use technology to create a process which will allow the user to quickly produce print or digital art which expresses their feelings and views for positive change in society and the ecology of the planet.
Output: digital art (still images), moving image (film, animation), print (poster art, fanzine), text (manafesto, campaign slogans, poetry, lyrics,), performance and debate.
Research and references
Film (video, digital advertising, VJ)
Propaganda art (fake news, deep fake)
Written work (poetry, fiction)
Performance (music, dance)
Movements (music, society, ecological)
Political parties campaign advertising
In politics, campaign advertising is used to influence political debate and voter preferences through the media (newspapers, radio and TV, online and social media). In the UK The Electoral Commission monitors and regulates campaign spending. There are strict rules applied to elections and referendums with caps on spending and time limits for campaigning.
To give you an example of campaign spending the following information details what was officially spent by the Leave and Remain campaigns for the EU referendum:
Registered campaigners at the EU referendum were required to complete campaign spending returns if they spent more than £10,000 on their campaign.
If they spent £10,000 or less they were required to submit nil campaign expenditure returns
One hundred and twenty-three organisations and individuals registered with as campaigners at the referendum. Altogether, the 123 campaigners reported spending £32,642,158 on campaigning at the referendum.
The rise of digital campaigning
The amount of money spent on digital advertising is increasing with every election. In the UK, the evidence shows campaigners are increasingly using new ways of communicating to reach voters. In particular, they often use advertising services bought from digital and social media companies like Facebook, Google, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter or Instagram.
The Electoral Commission admits digital campaigning has created major challenges for the monitoring of how political parties and campaigners are using online channels to influence voters. They have also highlighted the difficulty in tracking finance and spending for digital campaigning.
To understand the size and breadth of digital campaigning you can search the Facebook Ad Library. Search results display ads with text that matched your keyword search term. Only ads about social issues, elections or politics are included.
Below are example searches for advertising spends by the official pages for Conservatives, The Labour Party and The Brexit Party:
Search term: Conservatives
Spend, Oct 2018 - 11 Sept 2019: £250,341
Spend, 5 Sept - 11 Sept 2019: £3,928
Search term: The Labour Party
Spand, Oct 2018 - 11 Sept 2019: £201,797
Spend (7 days): £3,926
Search term: The Brexit Party
Spend (Oct 2018 - 11 Sept 2019): £217,179
Spend, 5 Sept - 11 Sept 2019: £1,128
And a broader search using keywords:
True or False, facial recognition and data tagging.
True or False, facial recognition and data tagging.
True or False, facial recognition and geolocation data tagging.
True or False, facial recognition, subject identification using biometrics combined with geolocation data tagging.
True or False, facial recognition and QR code data tagging.