© 2017 by Elaine Hoey    Contact hoeyelaine@gmail.com

Stranger than Fiction is Fact is an interactive, virtual reality-based (VR) installation that utilises technology to disrupt and destabilize the viewer's navigation and understanding of our current political mediascape. This work investigates the idea of fiction as a new reality, drawing parallels between technological, mediated and political systems, proposing new ways of how we might negotiate this uncertain terrain. As new information technologies emerge, they affect not just our means of communication but the very ways in which of our social, cultural and political worlds converge. Changes in technology are often fuelled by increased capitalist driven efficiency. Often, the results are difficult to detect and occur not as radical alterations to objects, but subtly and systemically, as shifts in the relationships between people and technological systems. What has become clear now is that how we navigate the media greatly impacts the sort of information we receive.


From social media feeds to google search, our experience online is becoming increasingly personalised. Algorithms analysis our previous searches, clicks and likes and ultimately determine the future content we will be shown. As social media and search engine’s algorithms sync, we have become trapped in an information bubble of our own making. This filter bubble or echo chamber effect, aids to amplify similar opinions, and we rarely encounter ‘other’ oppositional views, moving us further and further away from objective facts.The recent election in United States has shown us the powerful impact ideas such as ‘post-truth’ or ‘alternative facts’ can have. Emotion outranks fact; believing makes it so. So can technology be used against itself to expose its inherent flaws?


This work explores the concept of procedural representation, a theory that is used in developing the logic that underpins narrative systems in making video games. Procedural representation suggests that there is inherent and valuable information to be gained and learned by demonstrating processes, interactions, causes and consequences. This work proposes that we find new ways to respond, experience or participate in the current unfolding political mediated narratives. It asks can an enclosed technological system such as virtual reality be used to open up the possibilities of new perspectives, questions, thoughts, physical or psychological reactions and ultimately disruption for the individual in a mediated world. With the aid of a sensor-based virtual reality system, which enables the real-time tracking and interaction of the body in virtual and real space this work invites the viewer to re explore mediated narratives, through physical interaction and intervention.


While preforming this work the viewer can freely navigate four separate narratives. These narratives examine how the filter bubble effect has aided in the generation of political conspiracy theories, cast doubt over the existence of the 7 year old Appello Syrian girl Bana al-Abed, helped elect Donald Trump as President of the USA and facilitated the extreme polarisation of political ideologies, in regards to nationalism, immigration and identity.

Stranger Than Fiction Is Fact 2017

The installation space draws inspiration from the Microsoft screen logo, drawing on spaces that don't exist, yet have a presence in our lives. This space acts as a portal into a world that is virtually "out there"and it collapses that distance between the viewer and the screen,