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Science Gallery

Fake it 'til you make it: The art of deception... have humans mastered it?

‘Fake’ is running in the Science Gallery Dublin from 2 March to 3 June 2018.

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FROM FAKE MEAT to fake emotions, if faking it gets the job done, who really cares?

In both the natural world and human society, faking, mimicking and copying can be a reliable strategy for success.

Given the whirlwind of fake news and outlandish political statements in 2017, a new exhibition in the Science Gallery Dublin is about to delve into the art of deception.

Running from 2 March to 3 June 2018, ‘Fake’ will examine why we fake certain aspects of our lives and how we can spot a lie.

Director at the Science Gallery, Lynn Scarff, told that the exhibition “poses the question of – in this post-truth era – have we always been faking it?”.

There’s a reason the topic of deception has been chosen as one of 2018′s exhibitions.

2018 is the Science Gallery’s 10th anniversary. To mark this momentous year, Scarff said that she wanted this year’s exhibitions to be creative and innovative, but ones that also bring with them elements of the society we currently live in.

One of the major talking points of the past year has, of course, been fake information.

“We’re always looking at themes which resonate with big questions that are happening in a social, political or an economic context,” Scarff said.

“It’s not necessarily that we’re trying to develop something that takes a deep dive into a particular science, but instead something that really offers a new perspective on something that we’re going through collectively at the moment,” she said.

Fake is obviously very important given what is happening in the world, particularly in terms of politics, but also in terms of how we value things and how we attribute value to things.

Science Gallery Dublin / YouTube

The exhibition will look at how, through the years, humans have faked emotions, taste, chemical signatures, faces and trademarks.

It won’t just focus on the human brain, but animals too.

Professor of Zoology and curatorial advisor for Fake, Nicola Marples told that animals can also be masterminds of deception.

Marples used a cuttlefish she saw in a video as an example of how animals can pull the wool over the eyes of their peers.

“The cuttlefish was cruising along the water. The colours that the cuttlefish show are indicative of what they’re up to,” Marples said.

“What the male cuttlefish was doing is gliding between a rival male and the rival male’s mate.

“On one side of his body he’s signalling to the female ‘hey, darling’, and on his other side he’s signalling that he’s just passing through,” she said.

While Scarff was adamant that the exhibition is timely given the past year’s news events, Marples told that she believed an exhibition like this is important regardless of when it was on show.

“This exhibition is topical, but I think this is an exhibition that will always be interesting to people because people are always interested in deception and the fact that they can be lied to when they don’t know they’re being lied to,” she said.

Read: ‘When HIV hit Ireland it had the same devastation it did in San Francisco’

More: Ireland’s first ever satellite could blast off as early as 2019 (and it might even have a little flag)

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