What can we possibly trust in an online world with near-perfect CGI?
When a 21 year old Carrie Fisher turns round at the end of a film made when she was in her 60s and talks about hope, and an aging Trump turns and arches his back on a hotel bed in St Petersburg, what can we do but shrug both off as fantasy?
You see, before post-truth, there was post-production. What we have become able to do digitally is what has created the atmosphere in which truth cannot be pared from falsehood.
Will the Trump supporter who sees these supposed tapes be moved one iota? Why would they when they’ve recently seen Rogue One?
This is the terror that Russia is so expertly exploiting, this land run by a producer of avant garde theatre, where Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible. This, right here in these allegations, is the HyperNormal. My prediction: nothing will happen. Why? Because the mirrors are so many, and the smoke so thick, that there is nothing solid left to punch. Everything has become the cloud.
This is why I ended GETTING HIGH not with Apollo, not with LSD, but with the birth of digital technology, this miraculous fusion that promised to deliver us the most powerful illusion machine yet.
In an excellent piece written after Brexit, but before Trump’s victory, Katherine Viner explored ‘How Technology Disrupted the Truth.‘ Her call to arms in the conclusion is now more urgent than ever:
We are privileged to live in an era when we can use many new technologies – and the help of our audience – to do that. But we must also grapple with the issues underpinning digital culture, and realise that the shift from print to digital media was never just about technology. We must also address the new power dynamics that these changes have created. Technology and media do not exist in isolation – they help shape society, just as they are shaped by it in turn. That means engaging with people as civic actors, citizens, equals. It is about holding power to account, fighting for a public space, and taking responsibility for creating the kind of world we want to live in.
For now though, here’s a cat video: