Julika Rudelius

In her video piece made for Populism, Julika Rudelius (*1968) deals with the concept of truth and how it can be bended in order to obscure one’s actual intentions.

In a neutral office environment people who hold powerful positions talk about various common subjects. It is not about big political themes, but rather about everyday situations. The discussion of the protagonists has been initiated by Rudelius posing a question or making a statement. The persons involved are interesting personalities, who seem likable, trustworthy and intelligent. They emit something seductive and their charismatic appearance makes you believe what they say. As a result, the viewer’s ability to judge these people in an objective way is weakened. At first glance, the intentions behind the style of their communicative strategy are hard to figure out.

Rudelius shows us that reality is a matter of the constant distortion of facts. Truth seems to have multiple applications depending on the situation. Watching the video, you might feel uncertain about what is trustworthy information and what you are conditioned to take for the truth. Through the growing flow of information, it gets more and more difficult to tell what is correct and what is not. The definition of truth as such is questioned.

The people shown here use rhetoric as a manipulative device, and use it wisely to promote a certain image of reality.

One method of this charismatic form of argumentation, which seems to be more and more publicly accepted, is to use repetition of a statement to make people believe in its truth, regardless of its accuracy.

Different parties plead the truth in the daily interactions between unions and employers, government and opposition, or lawyers and the courts – but whom can you trust? In the end, only the one who masters these strategies in the most convincing way, is the one who will be believed. The discourse suggested by Rudelius’ video work makes one pose the question of where to set the moral limits for how far you can go in order to put through a scheme.

By Nina Köller, translated by Eva May



'Manager 02'
(2000) (4/c photograph)