06.09.2017 - 29.09.2017
Altfacts is an exhibition which explores the unreality of the political present. This condition is characterised by what Daniel Dennett calls ‘epistemological murk’, a societal belief where facts are considered less important than what is felt ought to be true.
Over a decade ago, Karl Rove baldly asserted that it was obsolete to believe “that [political] solutions emerge from judicious study of discernible reality”. Instead, Rove reversed this dependency of political action upon truth:
“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
While initially received as a remark of supreme arrogance from the chief strategist of the Bush-Cheney administration, Rove’s talk of empires creating their own realities has become a prophetic statement. This exhibition is intended as an exploration of the strange pseudo-reality created by the calculated political lie.
More specifically, I am interested in the emergence of the ‘alt right’ as a political bloc in mature Western democracies, and the architecture of the political reality which has been constructed to accommodate its nihilistic mentalities. Totalitarian thinking emphasises the greatness of a semi-mythical past era (which we must return to) by calling into being the present as a site of catastrophic ruin or impending disaster. It maintains that the empire of the West is under existential threat, while absurdly proposing a policy of political insularity which will harm its cultural dominance. This is where the works in Altfacts operate: the show is a clumsy, shallow falsehood which has been built over a historical truth.
Dale Buckley is a Perth-based artist and curator. He makes video, sculpture, and installation works about where geopolitics, language, and reality intersect. In 2015 he graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor’s degree in Art History. He has been involved in artist-run spaces since 2012, when he was a founding director of Moana Project Space, and in 2015 he also co-founded Success. He has exhibited in group exhibitions in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. Altfacts is his first solo body of work.