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July 31, 2024 at 1:30 PM

AGENDA 20230 is a project in the form of a workshop based on Interrogative Conspiracy Theory – an artistic research method I developed, which involves investigating a selected phenomenon by creating a conspiracy theory about it. During the workshop, participants will create conspiracy theories about the music industry. The outcome may be a visual representation of the theory (e.g. in the form of a diagram). We will use readily available artificial intelligence tools (e.g. ChatGPT, Stable Doodle, Stable Diffusion).

Interrogative Conspiracy Theory

A methodological framework which I created in 2021 (while working on Before They Delete This exhibition in collaboration with artist Letta Shtohryn)

Speculative interrogation meets conspiracy theories. When we look closer at those phenomena, we will see their inner interplays – every conspiracy is a form of speculation, but not every speculation is a conspiracy. What makes speculation a conspiracy is the promise of fulfilling enlightenment after ‘connecting all the dots’. But just as in a convincing conspiracy, even in the wildest speculation there has to be a grain of Truth – a solid logical argument which can bed it in its universe (Dunne, Raby, 2013).

Complexity is the key feature of conspiracy theories (Lukić, 2020), which makes it useful as a framework when we want to analyse multilayered issues with various actants involved. A controversy often sparks a conspiracy flame. It can be an intellectual stimulus while working on problematic issues. Another advantage of this method is that it constitutes an already appealing form of thought experiment to an even more engaging type of narrative.

On the other hand, accusing something of being a big conspiracy lie, when in fact it is not, constitutes the phenomena, persons or objects and rises their rank. Philip K Dick’s letter to the FBI claiming that ‘Stanisław Lem’ is a communist conspiracy (Davies, 2015) is a compliment on Lem’s impressive body of work. The plot that Reza Negarestani does not exist (Gironi, 2018) made him a cultural symbol even after he emerged on Twitter and IRL.

Applying the conspiracy theory structure to speculative research is an intriguing transmission from folk-science and beliefs to the academic world. It helps to research complicated phenomena which slip away from academic rigour. If you want to examine a particular concept, put on your tinfoil hat and create a conspiracy about it.



all mentors
  1. Kat Zavada
    Image of Kat Zavada
    Kat Zavada (PL)