Earth Not a Globe
takes its name from an influential volume on one of the most extreme conspiracy theories, claiming the earth’s surface to be flat rather than spherical. Substantiated by Samuel Birley Rowbotham at the end of the nineteenth century, this theory has since brought together a large community of devotees who continue to spread the word virally today.
For this project, Philippe Braquenier cuts straight to the heart of the discursive mechanisms at work within these conspiracy theories, pinpointing and dissecting a series of ‘flat earth’ -supporting statements using his singular experience. To achieve this, he adopts the procedures used by Rowbotham’s disciples, to display the same empirical experience through images. He thus creates ‘forensic’ evidence by manipulating, fragmenting, misappropriating, and editing, removing the images (accompanied by brief captions) from their context, which could lead us to doubt the earth’s rotation or the existence of gravity itself… were it not for a key detail: the author has left the signs and marks of his plastic intervention visible as clues of his working process. By combining the codes of documentary photography and his own explicit subjectivity, he appears to take a resolutely reflective stance on his practice. In this way, both conspiracy rhetoric and the stereotypes and automatisms informing his photographer’s viewpoint are called into question
In an age of post-truth and globalized information, his work ultimately represents a critical reflection on our relationship to images and their potential power as agents of conspiracy theories.
Words by Marie Papazoglou