Counterfeit Culture: Frauds, Fakery & Forgeries. Welcome to the Age of Post Truth. (Essay on Art & Culture)

Sydney J. Harris was an American journalist for the Chicago Daily News that once declared, “Men make counterfeit money; in many cases, money makes counterfeit men.”

With our contemporary world of smart phones and interconnected wifi, it’s not access to information that’s the problem anymore. It’s the authenticity of that information and the sheer volume of it that is. Even worse than that, a lot of people have stopped caring about whether what they are reading is true or not; only whether it shocks, titillates, or more importantly – fits comfortably into their pre-conceived concepts and ideals.

When I was a teenager in the 80s, the only things I knew weren’t real were Dolly Parton’s frontal assets. And it’s not as if I had stumbled across a big secret. Everyone else knew they weren’t genuine. It wasn’t so much deception as much as a knowing wink with a broad, bright, southern tinged grin.

We now live in a world so mired in deceit that it’s impossible not to be confronted by it every day. We buy products based on fake Amazon reviews. We eat at restaurants thanks to recommendations made by fake Yelp accounts. We book hotels and make side trips to see places thanks to fake tripAdvisor reviews.

In the 2018 film Active Measures, the proliferation of fake news, a favoured narrative dictated by former KGB agent Russian President Vladimir Putin, gets exposed as an elaborate network of troll factories in Macedonia.  Lies don’t just sell crappy meals in hotels or shoddy phone chargers from China; they managed to help elect the president of the free world. Lies dominate headlines. They can divide, conquer, start wars, destroy lives.

Earlier in the week, a robot brothel was banned from operating in Texas, months after drones flew over Elon Musk’s factory to determine the veracity of Tesla vehicle production. This same week, renowned street artist Banksy shreds his own work after it sold for almost 1.5 million dollars.  Given the increasingly plausible deniability of digital age news stories, one wonders, does anything really, actually, matter anymore?

Welcome to the Post-Truth age.

An age where, thanks to powerful new software based on artificial intelligence and deep machine learning,  it will be even harder for dogged detectives to sift through the fog of counterfeit realities.

Perhaps it is fitting then, that Cuban artist CB Hoyo lends his remixed artworks alongside Pixel Pancho, Mike Perry and Yoh Nagao over the upcoming Halloween season; a time when masked deception runs rampant.  Works will be on display at the GR gallery in New York’s Bowery district. Check out the optimistically titled Fantastic World show Oct. 24 – Nov. 25.  Just remember to check for a shredder before making your next art purchase.



All above art courtesy CB Hoyo.



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