Eva & Franco Mattes, The Bots (2020) and Abuse Standards Violations (2016, 2018, 2021), installation view Frankfurter Kunstverein 2023, Photo: Melania Dalle Grave, DSL Studio, ©Frankfurter Kunstverein, Courtesy: the artists & Apalazzo Gallery
Fake Views / Eva & Franco Mattes
Jul 14 – Sep 10, 2023
Frankfurter Kunstverein
Frankfurt, Germany

The Frankfurter Kunstverein is pleased to present the largest solo exhibition to date of media artists Eva & Franco Mattes, titled Fake Views. Using the pseudonym 0100101110101101.org, they have become international pioneers of the net art movement. Since the 1990s they have been exploring the phenomena generated by the internet. The artist duo is known for their ironic appropriation of internet structures and critical examination of the social and political impact of internet culture on our society.

The title to the exhibition, Fake Views, addresses a range of issues. On the one hand, it refers to the phenomenon of fake news: manipulated news that is difficult to control on social networks and often serves commercial and ideological interests. On the other hand, the title Fake Views represents a digital practice: manipulated click counts for videos and images that are purchased from dubious providers to increase views and create the impression of public support. These artificially generated views help influencers, companies, conspiracy theorists, and politicians gain greater reach and attention.

The use of fake social media accounts and communications bots as well as deception through manipulated images, fabricated sources and clickbait journalism are widespread methods of organized propaganda and disinformation politics. They are professionally designed and serve existing prejudices, so-called cognitive biases. Through constructed narratives, they steer and distort public opinion.

Eva & Franco Mattes’ works employ the means and strategies of a contested attention economy that shape the global public sphere. The artist duo focuses on exposing and rendering visible data both manipulated and manipulative, as well as the often-invisible digital processes behind them. The artists’ themes encompass various areas such as consumption of resources for processing data, unregulated working conditions on the internet, and the construction of absurd identities in social media.

Their conceptual approach acts like a contrast agent applied to internet cultures: it enables them to illuminate the internet and its invisible infrastructure, both technical and human, from within.