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I have long wondered why, in today’s advanced societies, where we seem to have all the resources we need to form a comprehensive picture of the world, there are forms of thinking that seek alternative, irrational explanations of the world, thereby creating myths.

In my work CUI PRODEST, I approach the construction of the enemy as the main motive of conspiracy theories from the perspective of the current problems of our information environment. I examine how, in an era of fake news and disinformation, our image of the world is being blurred by the credibility of our information sources being called into question. I am interested in how deliberately distorted facts, parallel and contradictory narratives, and the use of myth-making as a tool of power can trigger a process whereby a society’s worldview is shaken, it becomes distanced from rationality and begins to develop hostile images and conspiracy theories. This process can be interpreted as a kind of modern myth-making, and this is the focus of my creative work.

During the photoshoots, I experimented with different interventions - lighting, rearrangement, the addition of certain elements, or post-image manipulation - to represent the found street situations as visual metaphors of the paranoid’s consciousness. By symbolically transforming the structure of the real physical space, I reproduce the same moments that play a key role in the generation of alternative facts, pseudo-facts, and conjectures. Atmospheric creation is an important part of the work, the aim was to create surreal images that communicate on the level of sensations: they convey confusion and uncertainty, they are ambiguous, often operating with undecipherable signs and pictorial paradoxes. Ultimately, the series is based on the transformation of conscious processes and logical structures into images, while trying to use. photography in a similar way to dreamwork.

Some of the images in the series depict what appear to be weapons or threatening objects. Here we. see weapons made from everyday objects and tools that draw on the aesthetics of prop guns used in filming -VFX and motion capture technology. The latter are often in themselves abstract objects whose original function is difficult to decipher. Softness and comfort are common characteristics of these accessories, they cannot cause damage, their appearance is irrelevant, and they can therefore be of a DIY nature since they are replaced by ‘real’ weapons in the course of post-production. I have used the world of these props to create weapon-like objects that become symbolic in the context of the series.

One part of the series approaches the theme through family portraits and group photos, militarized or threatened in various ways. I have created characters that are deliberately awkward, torn between victim and hero, and generally highly constructed and tinkered with. Here, the aim was to show the group identity forming function of enemy image-formation, and I was interested in how the narratives that emerge in the conspiracy theories satisfy self-worth and narcissistic human tendencies: ‘I am being persecuted, therefore I am important’. The body parts of the people in the portraits often show (fake) wounds, presenting them as if they were veterans of an imaginary war.

In summary, the series aims to reflect, through metaphorical representations of the state of mind of a paranoid society, the contradictory process by which humans build a world around themselves that is far more threatening than the real one, and in which they ultimately become their own enemy.

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