The Department of Speculative Facts experiments with the reading and staging of text, and the agency of a text in relation the limits of language and the authority of narrative. It aims to distinguish trivial bafflement from productive bafflement, while questioning the definition of productivity, that can move us away from existing values-in and relations-to language towards the construction of new concepts.
The core of the project is based upon an exchange of letters between fact-checkers of the New York Times speaking about the procedures for creating objectivity and truth. Others are invited to rewrite, overwrite and interrogate these letters by channelling their own procedures for ‘factuality’.
The Department of Speculative Facts connects two seemingly contradictory approaches: Speculation which attempts to think and act beyond existing knowledge and structures, and fact-checkers in search for a solid consensus on which our reality can be built. When stretching knowledge and speculating with fiction, what sense of responsibility is needed in times of democratized opinions and fake news? Learning from the other SF—Science Fiction—we think of speculation through facts, and facts through speculation, to situate truth culturally.
The backbone of this book is an e-mail exchange between two fact-checkers from the New York Times Magazine, which we handed over to artists to re-write, re-perform, and re-design. The publication includes the original letters, workshop scripts, as well as additional texts by philosophers, journalists, writers, and artists looking at new social contracts, with which we can anchor ourselves in the present.
Published by Onomatopee, 2021
14.8 x 21 cm