The virtual exhibition “In Search of Truth” is the result of a month-long, virtual creative and cultural exchange between me (Patrícia J. Reis) and Bay Area-based artists Stephanie Andrews, Jenny E. Balisle, Sharmi Basu, Erik Contreras, Marlys Mandaville, Avital Meshi, and Parul Wadhwa. During the past several weeks, we rose to the challenge of collaboratively discussing, brainstorming, analysing, creating, imagining, speculating, dreaming, and inventing alternative interfaces to unravel and demystify our perceptions of truth.
Using feminist hacking strategies as a methodological entry point, we were able to position ourselves critically towards the challenge at hand. This perspective revealed how social change is a result of the human desire to pursue the so-called “truth.”
We must ask, which truth are we seeking to unravel? How can a “true conception of reality” be established in the current day, and how does it influence us as individuals and as a collective? Is our truth an individual perception or a common belief constructed by the masses? How does truth affect where we are and the way we care for each other (as humans and non-humans)? Is unraveling the truth a way to trigger social change? What makes us wish for change and what are we able to change on our own? Which personal tools or senses do we resort to in order to distinguish truth from falsity? Ultimately, can technology be an asset in the pursuit and repair of truth, even if used within fictional scenarios?
The diverse works in this exhibition are works-in-progress, statements, and essays on how truth is perceived differently within distinct contexts and points of view. A common theme that arises is the wish to unravel the truth in solidarity and by enveloping otherness — whether that is through the self-other or collective-other. The new media forms embedded in the diverse artistic projects were selected intentionally by the artists, with deep community-driven awareness, recognizing the impact of the proliferation of technology on human and non-human lives and bodies.
“In Search of Truth” expresses a collective concern towards an excessive trust, dependency, and reliance on new technologies in the digital age, by tackling some of its troubles — such as the digital self, artificial intelligence, and mobile tracking — or by speculating on “true” presents and futures. Together, we confirmed the impossibility of a singular reality, and with that, the urgency of constantly re-situating ourselves and becoming aware of the other side of “truth.” Knowing that we have only touched some of the truths we wish to unravel, we will continue our journey “In the Search of Truth.”