Seles is a provincial town of 40.000 inhabitants which has lost much of its economic base in recent decades – an enormous steel smelter, a porcelain factory and other industry lie abandoned. During the 2016 US presidential election, the town became a hub for ‘Fake News’ production. Tech-Davy local youth created hundreds of clickbait websites posing as American political news portals with the intent of earning quick money from viewer and clicks. They may have contributed to the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.
Bendiksen travelled to Veles in 2019 and 2020 to photographically explore this unlikely hub of misinformation. The photographs of contemporary Veles are intertwined with excerpts and facsimiles from a 1919 archeological discovery called ‘the book of Veles’. While popular among Slavic nationalists, the text is debunked as a forgery by most scientists.
In this ‘new’ book of Veles, Bendiksen interweaves these two different ‘Velesì stories, representing historical and current efforts at producing disinformation and chaos.