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© Matt Goerzen & Ed Fornieles

Matt Goerzen & Ed Fornieles: Baitwatch: Controlled Opposition

Dortmunder U | 3rd Floor
05/2019

In the series HMKV Video of the Month, HMKV presents current video works by international artists for the duration of one month each. In May, we are presenting the video "Baitwatch: Controlled Opposition" by Matt Goerzen & Ed Fornieles - selected by Inke Arns.

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Matt Goerzen & Ed Fornieles
Baitwatch: Controlled Opposition
Video, 2018, 7:08 Min.
Courtesy of dis.art

Examining "controlled opposition," or when someone pretends to be their own enemy to undermine how outsiders see that person or group, in this episode for dis.art protagonist Bait looks at how post-truth is also post-trust, a constant undermining of internet personas by the proliferation of sock puppet accounts (see the glossary oft he exhibition The Alt-Right Complex) who often get journalists to report on their, quite literally, "fake news," in turn undermining faith in those journalists, at least to the more media savvy. Not content just sticking to their favorite pastimes of harassing women and spreading racist memes, these trolls try to counter people who try to tell it directly—like Antifa—by undermining their credibility and even making them seem violent and dangerous. And of course, when someone cries foul, they cry free speech, calling others "snowflakes" for being too "sensitive" to things like racism, misogyny, and transphobia, as if those don't have real consequences and as if their language and forums don't encourage the white terrorists in their midst. These trolls are playing a game that no one else consented to play, which begs the question, is it a game at all? The answer is almost definitely, no. Especially when there are very real consequences like very real violence. (Marco Roso, dis.art)

Matt Goerzen lives in New York where he studies media manipulation, cultures of anonymity, and the technologies that enable them. His current project is to establish a cohesive framework for discussing media vulnerabilities by importing terms-of-craft from computer security research. In 2016 he received a MA in Communications Studies at McGill University. His thesis, "Critical Trolling," advances a politically-neutral definition of trolling, before tracing the involved techniques back from early-internet gray hat hacking communities through to the pre-internet artistic avant-garde. Ultimately, it examines an emerging class of contemporary artist trolls who function in a decidedly liberal, "critical" mode, and differentiates them from the subcultural trolls common to communities like 4chan. Goerzen has also received a BFA from Concordia University and a BJ (Bachelor of Journalism) from Carleton University.

Ed Fornieles (*1983, UK) is an artist working in London. 2011 MA in Sculpture, Royal College of Art, London, UK, 2005 BA in Fine Art, Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University, UK, 2003 Cunliffe Prize, judged by Anya Gallaccio, 2001 Winchester University, HND Art & Design, UK. His most recent project Cel uses immersive role play to investigate the effects of hierarchical structures and how the psychology of extremist views feed off each other and negatively impact the world in which we live. Fornieles' work focuses on exploring alternative tools and patterns of behaviour through role play. He has exhibited at The Serpentine Gallery, Chisenhale Gallery, Martin Gropius Bau, amongst various other institutions and galleries.

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