- Short of lying
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SHORT OF LYING is a storytelling performance about deception.
Stories of media manipulators. Stories of corrupt politicians and fraudulent investors. Stories of professional impostors. Stories of neuroscience marketeers. Stories of pharmaceutical businessmen. Stories of con-artists. Stories of Ted talkers and their simple solutions for success. Stories of religious leaders, psychic gurus, spoon benders, illusionists…
This project is about how plastic deception can be and how it assumes different roles on the level of discourse: dishonesty, bluffing, mystification, subterfuge, misrepresentation, dissimulation, propaganda, misdirection, distraction, concealment, imposition, fraud, trickery, hoax, or plain and simple bullshit.
Short of Lying invites you to reflect on a ‘Theory of Bullshit’: by mapping bullshitters of several types, and by confronting their respective strategies and discourses to one rhetorical device: the Unreliable Narrator — a figure in literary discourse, who misreports, misinterprets or misevaluates events and who blurs the realms of ethics, knowledge and perception usually in highly entertaining ways!
For this new creation, I have based myself on the book “On Bullshit” written by philosopher Harry Frankfurt in 2005 — a philosophical theory of bullshit that defines the concept and analyzes its applications in the context of communication.
According to Frankfurt, the bullshitter’s primary intention (and main purpose) is to give its audience a false impression concerning what’s going on in his mind. Hence, the bullshitter is someone whose aim — when uttering or publishing bullshit — is to impress the listener and the reader with words that give an impression that something has been done, is being done or will be done. In this sense, the statement of the bullshitter cannot be regarded as lying, for the bullshitter does not presume that he knows the truth. While ‘telling a lie’ is an act with sharp focus, bullshitting involves a program of making assertions without paying attention to anything except what suits one to say, and doing it to whatever extend the circumstances require.