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Irreconcilable Differences; exploring new relationships between misinformation and conspiracy, and contemporary masculine identities. 

Research, Art Practice, Video Curation  2020 -ongoing 

Recent years have been characterised by the emergence online of radical content and politically charged conspiracy theories that are reshaping politics, media and society. Distinct from previous conspiracy theories such as the faking of the moon-landing or the assassination of JFK, these new theories encapsulate not a singular event but instead attempt to explain and reimagine the entire current political, cultural and social situation of the west.


Radical content regarding the rejection of mainstream narratives and news reporting, including associated calls to action to reject mainstream media and thinking, where previously associated with left-wing radicals (often educated and associated with academia or politics) now frequently emerges from distinctly right-wing sources. This new, radical content is created, consumed, perpetuated, interpreted and rationalised by a predominantly white, male, often working class, increasingly right-wing audience, using the internet (social media platforms in particular) as a means of uninhibited communication, free of the checks, challenges, balances or limitations of established media platforms or epistemological frameworks.


A new, radical, amorphous, tribal epistemology has emerged, owned and distributed not by the state, academia or intellectuals, but by 'the people'. The creation and deployment of homemade videos, distributed online, presenting a new relationship between conspiracy and masculine identity, should be interrogated and understood. 


In this very current incarnation of mainstream rejection, intellectualism itself is found on a list of things not to be trusted. Science, academia, politicians, intellectuals and mainstream media all fall foul of a new epistemology that mistrusts anything validated by established institutions. Exponents of this new set of rules and values are validated and authenticated by their non-association with previously validated sources; a commentator's lack of connections, qualifications, endorsements or employment by institutions deemed valid by 'the establishment' can, in fact,  constitute their authenticity and trustworthiness as judged by this new framework. It is their lack of official endorsement, qualification or verification that affirms their authenticity. Their ideas, theories and calls to action (frequently rejections of mainstream news coverage, rejections of anti-racism movements, rejections of accepted medical or environmental science,  a belief in an overarching conspiratorial threat, presented as accessories to a broader set of identity affirming lifestyle changes such as health and fitness) are shared online often through recorded video messages. These are commonly direct pieces to camera with a recurrent set of values that visually communicate their authenticity - that is, their lack of connection to the perceived mainstream or any of its associated values. Identifying and interrogating these new relationships and the ways in which they are presented is important in understanding what is a radical, new, demonstrably dangerous and incredibly potent form of media communication. 



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