Rhizome & “The Current”: Disinformation Commissions – Artworks by Ryan Kuo (SMACT ’14) and Constant Dullaart respond to the theme of disinformation

Art plays an important role in bringing new perspectives to key issues. Rhizome’s contemporary artists reflect on the nature of disinformation – and how we might creatively subvert it.

Jigsaw, a unit within Google that forecasts and responds to digital threats, has launched a new online publication called The Currentincluding two artworks commissioned by Rhizome as part of a new collaboration. 

Issue 001 aims to raise public awareness around the problem of disinformation, focusing on “coordinated, targeted efforts to shape perceptions” through a range of deceptive practices. In response to this theme, Rhizome commissioned two new works by artists Ryan Kuo and Constant Dullaart.

Constant Dullaart’s Chorus is a web-based musical sonnet based on a monologue from “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” Clicking and dragging on the browser window reveals lines of the sonnet, which are sung by a crowdsourced chorus as they are displayed onscreen, evoking the exhaustion involved in dealing with social media disinformation and propaganda as an internet user.

Ryan Kuo’s Baby Faith is a young and naïve web-based chat bot struggling to learn how to identify human emotion. Baby Faith’s difficulties in identifying emotion online mirror the challenges of navigating emotionally driven disinformation campaigns. Baby Faith suggests that online emotions should not be taken at face value—by chat bots or humans—and that applying a critical lens to online interactions can build societal resistance against disinformation.

Chorus additional development: Mark Beasley

Baby Faith application development: Dial Up Digital