In Search of the Truth

The Truth Booth

Published on December 19th, 2016 by Kyle Morais

Time + Space recently caught up with NY based, contemporary artist Will Sylvester about The Truth Booth, a global art installation that is reshaping the medium of how it feels to vocalize our dreams, convictions, and ideologies. This mobile thought-provoker has set foot in a diverse range of spaces including South Africa, Ireland, Afghanistan, and 36 U.S states. The collaborative project features contemporary artists: Hank Willis Thomas, Jim Ricks, Ryan Alexiev, and Will Sylvester. The Truth Booth was positioned in historical Woodruff park and was a main feature in the recent ELEVATE ATL festival this past October.

“That idea that people may not be interested in what they have to say is kind of crazy. And I mean, revealing in some ways to possibly a bigger problem in the world.”

KM: What was the spark of inspiration for the Truth Booth, and how many artists are a part of the project?

WS: There are four artists a part of the Truth project: myself, Hank Willis Thomas, Ryan Alexiav, and Jim Ricks. The spark really came from Hank, who had an idea for an installation that was a speech bubble that was inflated with helium so you have these speech bubbles flying high overhead. One was in Hebrew and the other was in Arabic. They said, “The truth is: I see you” and “The truth is: I love you”. It was a commentary on how we perceive, and it was actually during the Israeli war.

KM: Between Palestine?

WS: Yes, that’s right.

KM: This was when? How many years ago?

WS: This was what… 2006, I want to say? 6 or 7—I have to look that up. But it’s this idea that we watch TV and we see people screaming at each other, right? I personally don’t speak Hebrew, nor do I speak Arabic.

KM: Neither do I, but I’ve always been fascinated by the language and alphabet.

WS: But who knows, they could be saying these really beautiful things to one another—granted they have guns in their hands—but we don’t know. There’s a commentary on that and what people’s truths are when we actually start to understand them. That spiraled into trying to examine and ask people what their truths are.