PETER HILL'S MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY IDEAS

Peter Hill

The Albury Wodonga Superfiction 1993

Collaboration Peter Hill and J.J. Voss (Photographer)

S U P E R F I C T I O N S


Verificationism

Verificationism concerns itself with how we can verify the 'truth' of a given statement, photograph, or map. It sits at the opposite point of the pendulum's swing (see Foucault) from falsificationism and it could be contended that neither can be reached with certainty but one can approach 'truth' or 'falsehood' to varying degrees. A statement from Joan Fontcuberta and Pere Formiguera illustrates this dilemma:

"Truth bases itself on certain means of supplying evidence. Photography is the most common of these means but, by extension, we could speak of any sort of system that produces pictorial messages through an optic device - the lens - that makes it possible to record reality. But these instruments - as we have now realised - can easily be manipulated. Objectivity tends to be simply one choice among many others. A choice which appears more utopian every day.
"We believe the photographs of the footsteps on the moon even though all the space expeditions could be an enormous montage.
On the contrary, we don't believe the photos of UFO's; we say they are faked and shrug them off. So the credibility of a photographic document depends first of all on its historical function as a transmitter of true, unquestionable, irrefutable information. But secondly, and perhaps to a greater extent, it depends on the charisma of the institutional argument that it supports and the credibility that the broadcasters are capable of inspiring."

(from: Perspektief No 36, 1989)

Ethical questions arise from all of the above. In the Gulf War, for example, who was falsifying the photographic evidence of missile sites and combat aircraft presented to billions of television viewers around the planet? Probably both sides, is the only safe answer.




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