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FABRICATING PUBLICS: the dissemination of culture in the post-truth era

Edited by Bill Balaskas and Carolina Rito
Published in 2021 by Open Humanities Press
ISBN (Print): 978-1-78542-105-1
ISBN (PDF): 978-1-78542-104-4
258 pages

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This book explores how cultural practitioners and institutions perceive their role in the post-truth era, by repositioning their work in relation to the notion of the "public". The book addresses the multiple challenges posed for artists, curators and cultural activists by the conditions of post-factuality: Do cultural institutions have the practical means and the ethical authority to fight against the proliferation of "alternative facts" in politics, as well as within all aspects of our lives? What narratives of dissent are cultural practitioners developing, and how do they choose to communicate them? Could new media technologies still be considered as instruments of democratizing culture, or have they been irrevocably associated with 'empty' populism? Do "counter-publics" exist and, if yes, how are they formed? In the end, is "truth" a notion that could be reclaimed through contemporary culture?



Bill Balaskas and Carolina Rito

Truth in Transition, as the Decade Breaks

Terry Smith

Post-Truth and the Curatorial Imperative

Steven Henry Madoff


Forensic Architecture

Post-Anthropogenic Truth Machines

Ramon Bloomberg

Isuma, the Planetary, Listening and the Reinvention of the Counterpublic Sphere

Christine Ross

tactical tutorial for the post-internet era

Gregory Sholette

Post-Truth as Bullying

Emily Rosamond

Trust without Evidence – Post-Truth, Culture Policies and Funding Dependency

Carolina Rito

Artists and Journalists of the World, Unite! A Kitchen Table Polemic

Ferry Biedermann and Nat Muller

"Anarchy near the UK"

Bill Balaskas

Natalie Bookchin in conversation with Alexandra Juhasz: Performances of race and white hegemony on YouTube

Natalie Bookchin and Alexandra Juhasz

Lying as Truth: Cervantes as Co-Author of Don Quijote

Mieke Bal

Birth of the Cool

Charlie Gere

Explanatory Publics: Explainability and Democratic Thought

David M. Berry

Fabricating Realities (Parkinson Elite)


Art and the Global Return to Order

Santiago Zabala


"Fabricating Publics brings together artists, activists, writers, journalists, curators and researchers who have been working actively with the notion of truth. In a historical phase in which the boundaries between what is true and false become opaque, leaving space for the proliferation of misinformation phenomena, fake news and conspiracy theories, the book provides a timely analysis on the conditions of post-factuality both theoretically and practically. The collection of writings aims to question the concept of post-truth and investigate the structural aspect of this debate, by analysing concretely tactics and strategies of producing public awareness and constructive dissent."

– Tatiana Bazzichelli, Artistic Director & Curator, Disruption Network Lab, Berlin

"In an era of post-truth, in which fake news and alternative facts have become political realities, this book asks one crucial and central question for all of us; is truth a notion that could be reclaimed through contemporary culture.? The answers given by these essays are varied and complex, but unanimous in arguing that art, media and culture have a crucial and critical role to play in upholding and defending democratic civil liberties and the public realm. This book is significant in extending a long and important tradition of understanding culture as common and shared ways of living in which politics are embedded in the practices of everyday life. This book needs to be widely read and discussed because it confronts the current authoritarian dimensions of neo-liberal thinking and its enabling infrastructures. The essays illuminate critical ways of rethinking truth as well as illustrating a range of tactical and practical responses. An excellent contribution to upholding cultural democracy." 

– Andrew Dewdney, Professor of Educational Development, London South Bank University

Fabricating Publics is produced with support from Association for Art History, Coventry University, Kingston University, Liverpool John Moores University, and London South Bank University.