The Oxford Dictionary proclaimed the “post-truth” complex to be the International Word of the Year in 2016. The word could be translated as “aftertruth”, with that “post” or “after” denoting not the time that comes after something, but the termination of the validity of a concept, in this case the “truth”. Australian Macquarie Dictionary proclaimed “fake news” as the Word of the Year, mostly thanks to the flood of false news in America during the presidential elections. At the same time, the phrase “alternative truth” was most widely used by Donald Trump and his associates. All of these phrases suggest the arrival of a “post-factual” time in which the truth and facts are succumbing to emotions, beliefs, and rhetorical creations in order to achieve various goals. It is as if the signifier and the signified are divided, and if it is forever — we will see. And as if rhetoric does not need reality any more as its confirmation, or even as its fulfillment: instead, it is a reflection that only reminds us that there once existed a truth and reality that were independent, groundbreaking and verifiable reference points. Thus, the time of “alternative truth” is no longer a time in which we can rely on the difference between truth and lies. The philosophical announcement of what is now exploding, is found in the work of the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard with his thesis on hyper reality, simulacrum and simulation, and this is (to put it more simply) about a thesis that media reality has replaced that “realreality”. Also, new media and technologies have enabled almost everybody on Earth to show their truth, which may have resulted in more people not being heard from the resulting noise. The same fact is accompanied by information on the growing control and manipulation we are subjected to, because the rulers and potentates were neverinterested in being able to hear and live the true alternative in the public space. It can be said that today we are moving between two poles: the deafening noise we produce by shouting out our own truth, and the silence of the censorship produced by those in power, in order to mute a good voice. Rhetoric and reality, chatter and censorship, truth and lie — language as a place in which differences and similarities are realized. Language as a meeting place for man and man, man and society, man and nature … Perhaps this is a good time for the following Almissa in Omiš to take place with the headline “Shut up, please!”.
Siniša Labrović, curator
Omiš is characterized by three natural elements: mountains, river and sea. By itself, this is not so unusual, but the intensity with which these elements dominate Omiš certainly make it unique – between threatening vertical rocks and the sea coast, the city is barely two hundred meters long. These two parallels are cut at the right angle by the massive river Cetina, literally coming out from the rocks in the middle of the city, and immediately flowing into the sea.
It was not easy. I dare to conclude that it was pretty hard. It is possible that such circumstances have some effect on the mentality — in order to survive, one should be as hard as stone and as stable as Cetina. Firm and unchanging attitudes are necessary at one point, but at another, they become the mark of the traditional worldview model that this time detects as the brake of change and acceptance of new or different. In that sense, we can conclude that this festival of contemporary and often provocative art (that has been held in Omiš for nine years) is, given the context, almost an exemplary model.
The curator of this year’s edition of Almissa mentions the term ‘post truth’ as his leading thought, which could be interpreted in the context of an exemplary model as an impetus for reviewing tradi- tional postulates or questioning any im- posed truth, or accepting the fact that Truth really is pretty unstable. From this point of view came the title of this festival – “Shut Up, please”, which, with this somewhat oxymoronal statement, is totally undoubtedly related to the truth, as well as some new – post truth. If the truth was uttered loudly in the barracks, we see it as a laughing-up of a superior officer; if it came from a political booth, iden- tifying the people as a boring fly, and on the other side, the justly revolted mass might turn it to the speaker. The theme of this year’s festival, truth appears as an orientation point, a starting point that ar- tists do not lose sight of, regardless of their different media expression, perspective or approach.