The Book of Veles . Jonas Bendiksen (2nd Printing)



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During the 2016 US Presidential election, tech-savvy local youth created hundreds of clickbait websites posing as American political news portals, intending to earn quick money from viewer ad clicks. As the Veles fake news articles were spread to millions of people via Facebook and Twitter algorithms, many of these “news hackers” made substantial sums, and the sites may very well have contributed to the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA.

The story of Veles’ fake news producers is an example of how rogue information and “alternative truths” are a constantly growing force, and one that is not easily defeated.
I travelled to Veles to explore this unlikely hub of misinformation.

The photographs of contemporary Veles are intertwined with excerpts and facsimiles from a 1919 archaeological discovery also called ‘the Book of Veles’ — a cryptic collection of 40 ‘ancient’ wooden boards discovered in Russia by an army officer, written in a proto-Slavic language. It was claimed to be a history of the Slavic people and the god Veles himself—the pre-Christian Slavic god mischief, chaos and deception. While popular among Slavic nationalists, the text is debunked as a forgery by most scientists.
In Book of Veles  these two different ‘Veles’ stories interweave each other , representing historical and current efforts at producing disinformation and chaos.

Jonas Bendiksen’s exploration of the North Macedonian town of Veles mixes fake news and documentary photography with ancient Slavic mythology. Through this project, Bendiksen seeks to pose critical questions around photography, trust and the representation of reality.

The Book of Veles . Jonas Bendiksen (2nd Printing)

220 x 165 mm, 148 pages
65 images, 19 reproduction of historical pages

Hardback with thin boards

Cover with satin silver foil on a fake leather material

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