Old News #6
As soon as all the corrections, which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, soundtracks, cartoons, photographs – to every kind of literature or documentation, which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way, every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item in the news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place.
The news ideology of the Party in the novel 1948 by George Orwell seems so tempting, scary and modern at the same time. Tempting to introduce, scary to introduce and modern because it happens daily and is already introduced. Imagine having all news articles, images, books, everything edited and altered so past, present and future melt and fit into one image? Imagine having only one voice, instead of many.
'Many' is one of the key words in the idea behind Old News. There are many voices in Old News #6. Together with Bisi Silva, I have curated Old News #6, but one could hardly call it curating because out of 62 artists we have only selected 2-4 artists. The curatorial idea behind Old News #6 was simple and functioned as a relay race. The curators (situated in Lagos, Nigeria, and Malmö, Sweden) selected one artist each to cut an article on the 1st of August, and after that the two artists selected two new artists to do clippings the following day, the 2nd of August. These artists then selected two new artists and so on.
Although Lagos and Malmö are not traditionally considered major centres of the world, one of the criteria was that the artists should have some relation to the regions, be it through studies, exhibitions, living, teaching, being born in the cities or regions, or having had a grandmother living there. The artists were also asked to select a word or write a statement about their choice of article. If the chain would break or if an artist selected a new artist, who had already chosen and cut an article previously, the selection had to be rebooted and the curator would select a new artist and start the race again. It would continue throughout August 2009.
The total straight-line flight ('as the crow flies') distance between Malmö, Sweden, and Lagos, Nigeria, is 5,517 kilometres. This is equivalent to 3,428 miles or 2,979 nautical miles. The cities and geographical regions are very different, so is the news. Old News #6 has many voices from two different regions. Their choices of news, their palimpsest has not been edited, altered, scraped clean, nor reinscribed.
- Copenhagen, September 1st 2009, Jacob Fabricius
PS. Old News is a project about information, the media and recycled, reprinted news. Old News is a non-profit newspaper presenting a selection of articles, images and words clipped from newspapers. The articles that appear in this newspaper were all cut by individual artists for the purpose of redistributing the news. Old News is a second-generation, free-copyright newspaper. The Old News newspaper is free.
CCA, Lagos, 2009
I am grateful for the artists’ engagement and participation. I would also like to thank CCA, Bisi Silva, Jude Anogwih, Malmö Konsthall, Den Frie Udstillingsbygning, Kirse Junge-Stevnsborg, Midway Conteporary, John Rasmussen, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, cneai, Sylvie Boulanger, Vincent Romagny, Sophie Auger, Bengt Hall, Nancy, Michael Tauber, E-types, Jakob Jakobsen, Bo Walther Kampmann, Guy Schraenen, Karl Erikson, Rasmus Koch, Pernille Albrethsen, Sanne Kofod Olsen, Thomas Bayrle, Claus Carstensen, Jesper Fabricius, Bo Maltesen, Billy Bing Poulsen, Politiken, Tom Lehrer, Karl Bartos, Lev Manovich, and last but not least Nanna Grunnet
Dedicated to my grandfather Sven Otto Sørensen