Using the media coverage of the Crimean Crisis as a springboard, this project aims to expose the subjectivity and inbuilt systematic bias of journalistic practices. Through the appropriation of media representations available in the public domain, the installation questions the ability of mass media corporations to function as a tool for exposing truths concerning matters of public interest.
This bears a special significance in relation to the Russia-Ukraine dispute, as it has become unclear what the real motivations behind recent political plays are and why there is a lack of response by several nations and organisations. Despite their indexical nature, the video material from Crimea is chosen and edited by subjective institutions, which create representations that run in line with the agendas of the people who fund and own the means of production.
Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman argue in their Propaganda Model that the mass media are systematically biased due to their ownership and funding structures. That is, shareholders, commercial mass media directors, governmental institutions, advertisers and journalists themselves control the messages by choosing what kind of stories are being covered, what sorts of footage is being shown, who is being interviewed and what kind of rhetoric is being used.
In this installation, as well as in mass media productions, meanings are constructed through the combination of audiovisual material with text, and thus a third meaning is created. The news broadcasts are wrongly seen as a window for exposing truths, which is problematic in the context of political discourse, where the power of representation lies in the hands of the owners of the means of production. Through the fluid interplay between video footage and corresponding headlines, the project aims to expose the inability of mass media to function in the public interest and to challenge the status quo due to conflict of interest.
This project was done for a class called "Generative and Interactive Narratives" at the Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture's Media Lab. It was showcased at the Media Lab's biannual Demo Day in May 2014. To simulate the experience of listening to the installation, we recommend playing the videos simultaneously with the audio clips available below them (play all four items at the same time). Click play to the right of each news station's logo to listen to their commentary.
Photo from Media Lab Helsinki's Flickr photostream. Please click the photo to go to Flickr and view more images of the installation.