Episodes / Ep. 306 - Jonas Bendiksen

Listen free

306. Jonas Bendiksen

Artist

Get full access to all episodes. Subscribe today.

Jonas Bendiksen is a Norwegian artist and member of Magnum

Episode 306: Jonas Bendiksen is a Norwegian artist and member of Magnum. His recent book, The Book of Veles,  published by GOST has received…some…attention

NORTH MACEDONIA. 2019. Veles.
The small Macedonian town of Veles (population ca 50 000) placed itself on the world map during the US elections in 2016, when it became an epicentre for the production of fake news. Looking for a way to make money, local youth created hundreds of “news” websites that emulated American political news portals, with names such as NYTimesPolitics.com, Trump365.com, USAnewsflash.com. These were spread to millions through Facebook and Twitter, and while the local youth made good money from the resulting Google ad revenues, they could also have inadvertently have had an impact on the election of Donal Trump.
Facebook and Twitter changed their algorithms to shut down such activities, but several of the Veles operators were found to have been active in the 2020 Trump vs Biden election as well.

I guess you might have had to have been living under a rock if you are attentive to photography not to have seen the furor and strange outrage that The Book of Veles has produced over the past couple of years. Bendiksen’s book is a nearly complete farce with avatars and computer-generated and fabricated photographs that underpin a compelling narrative about troll farms, Russian disinformation, election-rigging, and the American presidential election cycle. The catch, as a piece of journalism, is a complete success as it drew meaningful discussions away from the realms of the real to a point of revelation about the kingdoms of the possible. In doing so, Bendiksen, despite the brief ethical outrage, portrayed a very realistic skin of our current moment and the optics of media trickery.

NORTH MACEDONIA. 2019. Veles.
The small Macedonian town of Veles (population ca 50 000) placed itself on the world map during the US elections in 2016, when it became an epicentre for the production of fake news. Looking for a way to make money, local youth created hundreds of “news” websites that emulated American political news portals, with names such as NYTimesPolitics.com, Trump365.com, USAnewsflash.com. These were spread to millions through Facebook and Twitter, and while the local youth made good money from the resulting Google ad revenues, they could also have inadvertently have had an impact on the election of Donal Trump.
Facebook and Twitter changed their algorithms to shut down such activities, but several of the Veles operators were found to have been active in the 2020 Trump vs Biden election as well.

Bendiksen’s complex interweaving of narrative undergirds a desire for us to understand a narrative, however possible. His book frames a political arena challenged by actors and international propaganda, which is aimed at provoking a larger conversation about the future of information. We sat down to speak about the work and how it was received. There are great moments within the conversation about Bendiksen’s experience, and for those of you familiar with the work, you will find some new revelations. Please Tune In.

NORTH MACEDONIA. Veles. 2020. The small Macedonian town of Veles (population 50,000) placed itself on the world map during the US elections in 2016, when it became an epicenter for the production of fake news. Looking for a way to make money, local youth created hundreds of “news” websites that emulated American political news portals, with names such as NYTimesPolitics.com, Trump365.com, USAnewsflash.com. These were spread to millions through Facebook and Twitter, and while the local youth made good money from the resulting Google ad revenues, they could also have inadvertently have had an impact on the election of Donald Trump. Facebook and Twitter changed their algorithms to shut down such activities, but several of the Veles operators were found to have been active in the 2020 Trump vs Biden election as well.

Get full access to all episodes. Subscribe today.

Support this episode

Please consider supporting this episode by making a donation. Every donation goes to bringing more episodes to light.

Credits

Music: Algiers, with their full permission

Photograph Credits: Jonas Bendiksen, Magnum
Editing: Adam Mead
Executive Producer: Brad Feuerhelm

Rights are reserved for Nearest Truth. No copies of this content are permitted without express permission from Brad Feuerhelm.

Sign up to the newsletter

Connect with us

Select an episode
Loading