'The United States of Truth'
'The United States of Truth' strives to encapsulate the gravity and weight of propaganda within a nation. In this case, the artist's home country.
In this digital exhibition for The University of Westminster's Interim MA Documentary Photography course, spectators are faced with a series of unrelenting archival stills of Donald Trump, sown into the very fabric of the US Flag itself. Communicating how visual propaganda has become woven into the very fabric of this nation
Question: Why is the American Flag used as a Medium?
Answer: The 8x12’ ft American flag will be installed and hung by c-hooks from the ceiling of London Gallery West; in installing and utilising the US flag, the exhibit as a whole acts as a symbolic vehicle critiquing the nation as a whole. By employing the use of the American flag, the display subverts traditional political attacks on one political party. Instead, the work hijacks a
prominent American symbol and critiques the use of propaganda within American political system as a whole.
Question: What is the reason for using such a large medium?
Answer: When I initially delved into propaganda, the one thing which shocked me was the sheer amount of propaganda available and disseminated. Based on this fact, it became evident that my work had to push the boundaries of physicality and work on a large scale; as to truly convey the overwhelming nature of propaganda.
Question: Why not display the flag in a vitrine horizontally so everyone can
have the opportunity to easily look at all the images?
Answer: Since propaganda is not easy to look at nor discern, it didn’t make sense for my work to be in a vitrine for “easy viewing.” Instead, I want the spectator to struggle under the weight of the images, much like how I
struggle to understand the value of propaganda.
Question: Why did you purposefully deface the flag?
Answer: Propaganda is frequently perceived as the violent defacing of human choice and thought. During the creation of ‘The United States of Truth’ it became evident that to voice my viewpoint and break through the spectacle of propaganda the work must “speak the language” of propaganda by producing a spectacle of its own.
Question: What is the purpose of including images of Trump?
Answer: The purpose of including repeating images of Trump [as seen on your right] in New Hampshire, is a simple one. As he is currently the “head” of the American political system. By having his images [at least 100 printed out on 4x6 matte paper] sown continuously into the flag itself [with crimson thread], spectators are able to view propaganda visually. And see how the visual nature of propaganda itself, has become intertwined and sown into the very fabric of the country itself.
Question: Why did you use archival stills?
Answer: Before the creation of ‘The United States of Truth’ my initial work primarily involved film photography. By employing the use of archival stills, I sought to expand my toolset and experiment with a different kind of photography.
Question: In the end what does this work boil down to?
Answer: ‘The United States of Truth’ encapsulates my current concerns about American political system and ultimately boils everything down to the question, “What do I gain from all this propaganda?” Since starting work on this project, I‘ve delved into the history of propaganda; as depicted by Philip M. Taylor in “Munitions of the Mind.” And brushed up on the reasonings behind the employment of propaganda as depicted by Noam Chomsky in “Propaganda, INC;” yet in all of my contemplation and studies the one concept which evaded me was merely, “what do I gain from all of this?” What do we as citizens gain from the use of all this visual and verbal propaganda?
Figure I: The above collection features images woven into 'The United States of Truth.'