Adam Curtis is a documentary film-maker. Born in 1955, he has done most of his work with the BBC. HyperNormalisation was released on BBC iPlayer in October 2016 i.e. not shown on terrestrial TV or in the cinema. Please view the film on BBC iPlayer or Vimeo. Running time is 166 minutes, 16:9 ratio.
HyperNormalisation makes a wide-ranging analysis of systems of political, institutional, financial and psychological control. Curtis argues that a significant change began in the mid 70s and has advanced headlong ever since. Political and financial leaders retreated from an increasingly complex and morally ambiguous world and began to construct a new narrative that reduced the complexity to simpler (and false) stories capable of engendering a stable state reality that consolidated their power and made protest powerless. These leaders began to manufacture our perceptions of reality through interlinked networks of propaganda and PR, the media, powerful financial interests, control of cyberspace, the creation of desire, manipulation of fear/anger, and surveillance. The net result, he argues, is a fundamental de-linking between the world as it really is and how we understand it. So that, as a culture - maybe as a global culture, maybe as a species - we have become lost in a fake world, a manufactured reality.
Neil Lamont is a practising artist who works - among other things - with the themes of modernism, utopia and dystopia. Neil studied history in Bristol back in the 1970s and in the last few years has spent time studying and discussing modern philosophy.
[SYMPOSIUM] is a free and open-access reading group for artists, researchers and anyone interested in the intersections between art practice and critical theory. Everyone can propose a text and facilitate the reading group. For more information and to book your place please visit the website.