On Truth and Trust

Mon 4 Mar 2019

This is a past program.
ACCA Foyer

Philosopher Alain Badiou once said, ‘reality as a word is used to intimidate’ (In search of the lost real, Fayard, 2015). What is so intimidating about reality in a post-truth world?

Join us for a panel discussion that will interrogate the perception of truth, trust and reality, set against the backdrop of ACCA’s exhibition The Theatre is Lying: The inaugural Macfarlane Commissions.

The panel, featuring Justin Clemens, Maddison Connaughton and André Dao, will consider how our understandings of trust, truth, fiction and reality have changed in the age of fake-news, Trumpism and social media, from their positions as established thinkers, writers, storytellers and journalists.

Listen to the Podcast:

The Theatre is Lying explores the relationship between the stage and the outside world, artifice, subversion and manipulation. One of the key aspects of this relationship is trust, which is explored in different ways by artists Anna Breckon and Nat Randall, Sol Calero, Consuelo Cavaniglia, Matthew Griffin and Daniel Jenatsch. Trust is crucial to our understanding of the world and our relationship to others. As filmmaker Milcho Manchevski argues, trust is also at the centre of our relationship to art – between any artwork and its maker, and between an artwork and its audience (Truth and Fiction: Notes on (Exceptional) Faith in Art, Punctum Books 2012).


 Justin Clemens is an academic and published poet who is known for his works on Alain Badiou, psychoanalysis, European philosophy and contemporary Australian Art and Literature. His recent books include Lacan Deleuze Badiou (Edinburgh UP 2014), with A.J. Bartlett and Jon Roffe; Psychoanalysis is an Antiphilosophy (Edinburgh UP 2013); and Minimal Domination (Surpllus 2011). Clemens regularly contributes as a commentator on Australian art and literature to publications including, The Monthly, Meanjin, Overland, Arena Magazine, TEXT, Un Magazine, Discipline, The Sydney Review of Books, among others. Clemens is currently Senior Lecturer in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne.

Maddison Connaughton is the editor of The Saturday Paper. Her reporting from the Syrian border saw her become a finalist for the 2018 Walkley Award for Young Australian Journalist of the Year. Previously, she was features editor at VICE and a correspondent for VICE News. Her journalism has also appeared in Vox, Monocle, i-D, The Australian and The Age.

André Dao is a writer of fiction and non-fiction whose writing has been published in The Monthly, SBS True Stories, Meanjin, Griffin REVIEW, Asia Literary Review, Al Jazeera English, The Saturday Paper, The Lifted Brow, and anthologies published by Oxford University Press and Penguin Australia. He is the co-founder of Behind the Wire, an oral history project documenting people’s experience of immigration detention, and the deputy editor of the New Philosopher. Dao is a producer of the Walkley-award winning podcast, The Messenger. From 2009–2014, he was Editor-in-Chief of Right Now, a human rights media organisation where he co-edited Poetic Justice, a collection writing which was a finalist for the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Literature Award in 2014.

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