The Prague Fake News Lamp – Taken down for repair in April 2023
The latest piece of interactive art in the city can be found attached to one of the arcades of the Municipal Library and to be honest unless you are looking for it you WILL walk right by it without noticing. To be accurate, you will walk underneath it because at first glance it looks like an ornate lamp and depending on when you walk by that’s what it looks like, just a big lamp and a yellowish light.
The Analysis Part
There’s something special going on in the background because the lamp is connected to a Czech website called Monitora who specialise in digital analytics. Based on their interpretation of thousands of metrics they determine if a broadcast or printed news item in the Czech Republic or Slovakia media is either manipulative, sensationalist or outright fake news.
What Happens Next
Monitora is a company that you pay for access to data but in our case it sends signals to the “fake news lamp”. It will begin to first dim the brightness of the lamp and if the fake news signals are strong enough it will replace any light with a series of storm clouds (if you look carefully you can see debris flying around in the storm) complete with lightning. Basically the inference is that as fake news increases, it reduces the visibility in the surrounding public space and forces us to be aware of what’s going on around us by using our normal points of reference.
Where Is It?
The map is below but as you stand facing the front of the library then the fake news lamp is to your left under the covered arcade. If the library is open you should also take the opportunity to visit the Book Tunnel.