Jonas Lund

The Guardian

Simulation uses fake news and adverts to explore how public was manipulated in 2016 vote

Operation Earnest Voice
 Swedish artist Jonas Lund has ‘recruited’ a team of 12 volunteers to take part in the performance piece. Photograph: Alan Mozes

An artist who has set up an installation in a central London gallery with the aim of “reversing Brexit” hopes the performance art piece will help people understand and navigate the murky world of online manipulation.

Swedish multimedia artist Jonas Lund has set up Operation Earnest Voice, a “fully functioning propaganda office”, at the Photographers Gallery with a singular but playful aim: to use the technology and devices that were utilised during the Brexit referendum debate to stop it from happening.

“As we’ve seen with the different Brexit campaigns, the use of targeted ads and companies like Cambridge Analytica have manufactured consent,” says Lund.

“Our aim is to develop toolkits and see what’s available to us in terms of technology. We have the option of doing detailed individual advertisement through Facebook, [we can] build networks of fake news websites: aggregating articles and spinning meaning.”

The four-day project, which ends on Sunday and takes its name from an astroturfing campaign run by the US government, is run by Lund and his team of 12 volunteers or “employees”, who applied to take part in the work and include former Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaign photographer Alan Mozes.

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