The boundary between true and false fades. What does this mean for the truth?
The boundary between true and false fades, whether it’s newspaper photos, designer bags or the human body. Digital copies of paintings can hardly be distinguished, and the virtual world is increasingly seamless in the real world. What does that mean for the truth? VPRO backlight director Bregtje van der Haak looked for the shifting boundaries and unequality in journalism and in art.
We want everything to be as real as possible. Real butter, real vegetables, fair and natural materials. Everything must be pure and true.
But aren’t we fooling ourselves a little? Because how real is “real” actually?
According to philosopher Koert van Mensvoort, founder of Next Nature, we must let go of our lust for “real things” and seek for a better understanding and use of simulation and copy. According to Van Mensvoort: “The contradiction between true and false is deeply rooted in our society. Real is good and fake is bad. That’s nonsense, that whole idea just has to be thrown out the window. ”
The Next Media company in Taipei discovered a hole in the market and has recently been a world leader in a new type of news: the animation. The company employs 600 animators who create the missing news images 24 hours a day. These images are distributed worldwide through Reuters. Next Media CEO Kith Ng: “In two years, our new animations will be 100% realistic and impossible to differentiate from reality.” Ng predicts that the virtualization of news and social relations will, in the very short term, grow tremendously. The company has a database that has already saved 30,000 real people as virtual characters, using Hollywood technology to make them talk and to manipulate their facial expressions.
Further in this episode: A meeting with Dutch people in Taipei, bringing Vermeer’s digital scans, the inspiration of the digital pioneer Yin-Fang Lin of Bright Ideas, who brings 1000 years of art through digital technology to US Army soldiers based in Ramstein (Germany) for virtual therapy purposes , a robotic interview and Nonny de la Peña’s new journalism in a virtual prison on Guantanamo Bay, where no real journalist is allowed to come.
Originally broadcasted by VPRO in 2014.
© VPRO Backlight March 2014
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Director: Bregtje van de Haak
Research: Chris Vijn
Production: Marie Schutgens
Editors: Henneke Hagen and Frank Wiering
English, French and Spanish subtitles: Ericsson.
French and Spanish subtitles are co-funded by European Union.