Thematic Introduction

Science, natural history and reality are usually portrayed in documentaries and museums and constructed as being truthful, but through Donna Haraway’s Teddy Bear Patriarchy we are introduced to how the boundaries between fiction and reality are blurred, and instead reality is constructed in the image of humans putting it on display. New forms of representation and curating give the portrayals of reality an evident bias, making it essential to question what kind of truth is in fact being constructed. In terms of the documentary, Carl Plantinga notes how watching documentaries creates an implied contract between the director and audience, making certain that the director is describing something happening in reality, without it being manipulated in an untruthful way. But what happens if this contract is broken? Have filmmakers and museums in fact strayed from the notion of displaying a representative and truthful reality? If so, how is it evident? In the words of Susan Sontag “The truth is balance. However the opposite of truth, which is unbalance, may not be a lie”, so what kind of truth is then being constructed and manipulated through the eyes and cameras of curators and filmmakers? If it is not a constructed lie, what can we then perceive it as?

The films, texts and art explored in this research, lead us to understand how many different ways reality in fact can be portrayed both in truthful and untruthful ways, and guides us to a better understanding of what codes to look for in the blurred boundaries of fiction and reality.



Through time, reality in terms of nature, science and history have been constructed in the image of the humans portraying it, thereby blurring the lines between reality and fiction.

Guiding questions:

How do we begin to grasp the biases embedded in the portrayal/construction of nature, culture and history?

How does art construct nature and science? What significance and meaning do we derive from this depiction?

Has there been a change in the way nature and culture is curated?

What importance does the notion of narration have in connection to displaying the truth?

What is being performed in the narration of reality?




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