Metahaven, The Sprawl (Propaganda About Propaganda), 2016, still
Metahaven, The Sprawl (Propaganda About Propaganda), 2016, still


7 – 29 MAY 2016


In the UK premiere of the immersive video installation The Sprawl (Propaganda About Propaganda), award-winning artists and filmmakers Metahaven argue that the internet has become a disruptive geopolitical super weapon.

'Euro dice' falling in Metahaven’s The Sprawl
'Euro dice' falling in Metahaven’s The Sprawl

The exhibition is being presented at Brighton Festival, which this year is celebrating 50 years of commissioning and producing innovative arts and culture, with pioneering artist and musician Laurie Anderson at the helm as Guest Director.

Together with master cinematographer Remko Schnorr and acclaimed electronic musician Kuedo, in The Sprawl (Propaganda About Propaganda), Metahaven have created a playful, provocative, timely and poetic work examining a new form of instantly accessible, ever-present propaganda prevalent in the age of social media.

In the installation, multiple screens present re-imagined, popular YouTube memes, including state-influenced fan art and news clips, juxtaposed and overlaid with original footage and graphics created by Metahaven – revealing how the West and Russia are using the same technology and cinematic aesthetics to present contrasting versions of the truth, whilst themselves creating a potent work of propaganda about propaganda, a paranoid trip into reality turned on its head.

“The effect, the spin of the information is much more important than the factual content,” says Daniel van der Velden, co-founder, with Vinca Kruk, of Metahaven in an interview with Sharon Thiruchelvam in i-D, who adds, “Metahaven are ​making propaganda to fight propaganda. Models in profile contemplate flat screens as subjects with hidden interiority; another echoing Nyash Myash brandishes a Samurai sword with a sense of innocence. The smoke, HD screens and pop-art desktop motifs remind viewers that on screens everything is premeditated, mediated and politicised.”

As well as being presented as an immersive video installation, exhibited at festivals and art spaces around the world, The Sprawl (Propaganda About Propaganda) is being disseminated as two further, interwoven parts: a feature-length documentary, premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (see the trailer below), where it was nominated for a Bright Future award, and as stand-alone fragments on, shareable via social media.

The Sprawl (Propaganda About Propaganda), official trailer

Founded by Vinca Kruk and Daniel van der Velden, Metahaven use graphic design, moving image and internet activism as a means to investigate existing commercial and political power structures. In 2013 the group won the Cobra Art Prize and was named Design Studio of the Year by ICON magazine. Their work has been featured in publications including frieze, Dazed and New York Times Magazine, and has been exhibited at MoMA PS1, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and the V&A, amongst others.

Date: 7 – 29 May 2016
Open: Daily, 11am – 6pm
Venue: Lighthouse
Tickets: Free

Exhibition co-commissioned by Lighthouse and Brighton Festival.
The Sprawl (Propaganda About Propaganda) is borne out of a commission by Lighthouse and The Space, and was supported by The Space and the non-fiction Transmedia scheme, a joint initiative between the Netherlands Film Fund, the Dutch Cultural Media Fund and Creative Industries Fund NL.

The project will be presented at leading festivals and art spaces around the world throughout 2016 and will be available online soon.

YBCA, San Francisco, USA
18 December 2015 – 3 April 2016
Immersive video installation

Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, Poland
19 February – 5 May 2016
Immersive video installation, exhibited as part of the group exhibition Bread & Roses – Artists and the Class Divide.



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