"In the post-Brexit, post-Trump world… everything is screaming for our attention, everything is competing for our time," says artist Joseph Ernst. And there are only so many hours in the day – eventually, we need to switch off."
Some switch off by simply watching telly, or reading a book, or even actively socialising IRL with friends and family. Ernst, on the other hand, took the more drastic measure of reimagining the world’s most famous newspapers as totally devoid of words and images for his Nothing in the News series. In their place, we just find beg and grey boxes, the shadowy promises of information that simply isn’t there.
The project is a physical manifestation of Ernst’s previous series Nothing on the Internet, which is – as you might expect – a series of “websites with nothing in them.” That series was born of a realisation that surely all of us can identify with: "Like most of humanity these days, I spend a lot of time online, but I was finding that increasingly, I’d log on to something like eBay or Instagram or Facebook and hours would pass without me noticing," says Ernst.
"In our quest to fill our lives with meaning and knowledge, we try to quickly take in as much as possible, skim read everything, picking up top-line information, and headline breaking news issues, whilst trying to avoid reading the ads, and keeping up with our Facebook and Instagram feeds at the same time. And what happens is that in the midst of this information overload, we become numb, we switch off, we stop caring."