Sven Augustijnen’s project Panorama consists of an eight full-page insert to the main financial Belgian newspaper De Tijd, in which the artist conducts an exhaustive and meticulous investigation into the non-official settling of the European Parliament in Brussels. The story has a significant amount of dark sides – enough to make the journalistic case necessary and relevant to any newspaper reader. The same insert was then posted to every single EU Member of Parliament, to make sure that its ‘exhibition’ would reach yet another part of its ‘audience’.
Does Sven Augustijnen’s art aim to ambush life through the disguise of the artist as a journalist? His infiltration of the system that produces information is not geared towards seeing to what extent the information apparatus produces knowledge or fiction. It is rather meant to short-circuit the conditions of belief that the apparatus can generate by its sole functioning. The structure is the message: the newspaper functions on the thin line between validation and guarantee of truth. Is the news truthful because it goes through the paper’s filtering function, or is it the paper’s commitment to reaching out for the truth that grounds our belief? (Francesco Manacorda)