Truth Serum with Office of Experiments

FACT, Liverpool 2008
Casino Foundation for Contemporary Art, Luxmbourg 2009

Truth Serum

FACT, Liverpool 2008

Casino Foundation for Contemporary Art, Luxmbourg 2009

Developed with Dr.Nicolas Langlitz from the Anthropology Research Collaboratory and Max-Planck Institute, Berlin, for The Office of Experiments.

Installation with performance experiment. Work installed - FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool.

This piece of work developed onthemes of self-experimentation iand secrecy. In particular it was conducted in the wake serious developments in the debate concerning secrecy that surrounded programs including extraordinary rendition and ongoing waterboarding in relation to torture in regions of conflict in the Middel East by the UK and US state. The work also responded to the persecution of US artists undertaking legitimate work in relation to bioarts and critical inquiry. 

Having undertaken substantial research into the use of drugs knowns as truth serums by the CIA and FBI, by Dr Nicolas Langlitz, an experiment was devised to test audience belief in these mythical systems and to give them the opportunity to experiment with some. 

The project was conceived in two parts; an installation at FACT, which itself was in part concealed behind a secret entrance, that led to a room that depicted a sleeper cell inhabited by an absent figure. In the second part, volunteers were ‘removed’ from the gallery and taken on a perfomance throu

gh a series of psychologically demanding spaces in a disused warehouse. They were finally interrogated by an automated program that forced them to respond to questions concerning artist legitimacy and their own attitudes to ethical issues such as interrogation and rendition, with a specific focus on art.

These experiments were recorded, and replayed in two rooms in the second installation of the work in Casino, Luxembourg. (Below)

The Office of Experiments' experiment in consensual self-experimentation in support of freedom from artistic censorship was conducted with volunteers in a secret venue in Liverpool on Saturday 29 March 2008. The project sought to highlight the case of artists such as Steve Kurtz and Critical Art Ensemble, and their persecution in the USA, which marks an ever-increasing creep of the security state into the nervous system of culture. A small number of volunteers took part in the experiment. They were asked to attend a venue in Liverpool at a specific time on the day.

The experiment was commissioned from the Office of Experiments (set up by artist Neal White) by The Arts Catalyst in association with 'sk-interfaces', an exhibition at FACT (Foundation for Art & Creative Technology), Liverpool.

 ‘The Office of Experiments’ Truth Serum Threat: Notes on the Psychopharmacology of Truthfulness by Dr Nicolas Langlitz featured as a chapter in the Catalogue. Published by John Moores and The University of Chicago.

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