A new art installation in Prague sheds light on fake news

A unique new light exhibition outside Prague's Municipal Library represents the swarm of disinformation in the modern world.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 09.01.2022 16:01 (updated on 10.01.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

A Prague artist is drawing attention to the spread of fake news in the Czech Republic through a new art exhibition outside the Municipal Library in Prague. The installation, created by Jakub Nepraš and called "Visibility," will be on display through the end of 2022.

The installation, in the shape of a lamp, represents the swarm of information and misinformation swirling around in the modern world. The lamp detects when fake news is being shared through known Czech disinformation websites, and represents this by limiting its light output. Passers-by will experience a real-world darkness brought about by the spread of fake news online.

The installation is part of the Art for the City project prepared by the Gallery of the Capital City of Prague. It will be switched on all day, but the Gallery recommends visiting in darkness for the best effect.

The artwork’s specific target is fake news. False information is spread to manipulate people in a way that benefits specific political groups or market forces. Fake news can be hard to recognize amid the maelstrom of online communications and 24/7 news updates.

"Visibility" captures this phenomenon through pulses representing increased activity from fake news websites. These pulses turn into a storm of disinformation, clouding the visibility of the surrounding space.

The exhibit is located outside the Municipal Library, close to Prague City Hall, to show how the world of archived information represented by the library clashes with the unreliable information surges brought on by current events.

“The visualization of false information in a swarm that obscures the bright light of the lamp shows the effect fake news tries to have on us: overshadowing clear judgement and making the mind succumb to a deceptive influx of unverified, intentionally distorted, or even completely false information," says curator Marie Foltýnová.

"In this cloud of obscure images and phrases, our only hope is to recognize the origins of fake news, dispel their shadows, and return clear visibility to our surroundings.”

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Disinformation is a global problem, but the Czech Republic is thought to be particularly susceptible. Security experts have long been concerned about fake news coming from sources in the east, such as Russia and China.

Disinformation is perceived to be closely linked to international espionage activities, so controlling the spread of disinformation is vital to national security.

During the Covid pandemic concerns about fake news have grown. Outlandish theories about the origins of the virus, the activities of big pharma companies and the effects of vaccines aren’t hard to find online.

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In an age saturated with information, fake news is one of the most dangerous weapons wielded by those looking to do damage to society. In Nepraš’s art installation now on display at the Municipal Library, its visual representation as a swarm of darkness shows the confusion it can sow and the real damage it can cause.

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