Addie Wagenknecht's Believe me references the familiar sight of a device's broken screen. It overlays the visual effect of cracks on a series of images that can be manipulated and loaded successively by refreshing the browser. Using the seemingly damaged screen as a central metaphor, Believe me evokes the distortions that digital technologies impose on our experience of the world, and each other. The failed or failing pixels change the colors, spaces, and meanings of the project's imagery, which ranges from politically charged scenes to the vernacular of the online environment, familiar interface elements and Internet folklore. The slightly glitched, broken, readable yet abstracted imagery of Believe me — the two most often used words by Donald Trump according to sociolinguist Jennifer Sclafani's analysis for CNN — questions the status of reality as it is mediated through our screens in a fake news and post-truth environment.
Viewers can manipulate Believe me by clicking and refreshing the page.
Addie Wagenknecht's work blends conceptual approaches with forms of sculpture and hacking. She founded Deep Lab in 2014 and was a member of Free Art & Technology (F.A.T.) Lab. Her projects have been shown at venues including MuseumsQuartier, Vienna, Austria; La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris, France; The Istanbul Modern; Whitechapel Gallery, London; and MU, Eindhoven, Netherlands. Wagenknecht's work has been featured in numerous academic papers, books, newspapers and magazines, among them TIME, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, The Economist, and The New York Times. She holds a Masters degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, and has held fellowships at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in New York City; Culture Lab UK; Institute HyperWerk for Postindustrial Design Basel (CH); and The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University.