New art installation in Prague responds to disinformation websites
A new light installation, called ‘Visibility’, has been unveiled outside the Municipal Library in the centre of Prague. The lamp was created by Czech artist Jakub Nepraš in response to the growing amount of fake news stories circulating on the internet.
The ongoing Covid-19 outbreak has highlighted the global danger of fake news and misinformation spread over the internet, which can weaken health efforts and fuel social unrest.
In reaction to the growing amount of fake news and the damage it can cause, young artist Jakub Nepraš created a unique work of art, which was installed in the arcade of the Municipal Library last week.
The installation in the form of a lamp is connected to a server and receives alerts whenever there is increased activity on Czech fake news websites.
Once it happens, the light in the lamp begins to flicker, forming a storm which clouds the visibility around the lamp, leaving people in darkness, explain Nepraš:
“Simply put, the more untruth is out there, the less the lamp shines and creates a sort of chaotic storm. People standing directly under the light tend to see less.
“That’s why we should rely on our own judgement and on the visibility around us. And that's why I have called the installation ‘Visibility’.”
The lamp is made of laminated glass and stainless steel so as to withstand adverse weather conditions. It contains three small projectors that illuminate the light bulb, which has some 70 centimetres in diameter.
During the day, when Czech disinformation websites tend to be more active, the light in the lamp flickers and swirls a lot. As the activity of trolls dwindles, the light calms down again, says Jakub Nepraš:
“Around midnight, when the Czech websites that produce fake news are less active, the light in the lamp steadies, because it doesn’t receive any impulses about fake news. So there’s just a subtle sound of energy flowing and the lamp glows with a yellow light.”
The installation of the special fake news lamp is part of a larger project called Art for the City, which seeks to bring works of art into the public space. Marie Foltýnová of the Prague City Gallery is the person behind the project:
“As part of the Art for the City project, we cooperated for instance with the Institute of Planning and Development of the City of Prague, on their Prague Plazas project, where they return public spaces to citizens.
“We also help to install temporary works of art in the public space so that even people who don’t normally encounter art have a chance to get acquainted with it.”
One such work of art unveiled last year within the Art for the City project was the sculpture ‘Homage to Geometry’ by the famous Czech artist Stanislav Kolíbal. It can be seen on the premises of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University in Trója.