Spilling the Tea on Covid-19

Meg Evans

Fake News

Summer 2019, I collected American ‘Fake News’ magazines and read books on myths and legends. There is an interesting relationship between these two genres. On the way to Lidl I passed a shop, well two shops, you can be forgiven for thinking they were one, as they had exactly the same sign. Same font, same colours, same layout. Except one was a Vietnamese supermarket and the other an estate agent. I would spend the bus ride inventing stories to explain such a phenomenon – if I broadcasted these stories would it be fake news, a myth or a legend? Turns out, there are blogs on the internet that feature this particular specialist supermarket. Takeaway culture is massive in the UK. We love other cuisines, although as I am sure we have all been reminded in a conversation while we are eating a takeaway, that what we are eating isn’t authentic, it's been adapted for palettes in the UK. I did a play when I was in secondary school about the Willow Pattern, a chinoiserie ceramic design which depicts a story. The design is not from China, it was conceived in Stoke-on-Trent. The appropriation of it’s design was used for financial and political gain. Coronavirus is being used for capital and political gain. Fake News, myths, (legends?) are being used as manipulative tactics. With everyone staying at home, we rely on social media, a flattened space of communication where these lies can multiply like never before, just like the virus they have infected us and are spreading at a highly reproductive rate. For my project, I’ve been making these lies visible, illustrating exposé's, and trying to craft objects that tell a truer story…

The lies about coronavirus are being spread rapidly and with detrimental consequences. According to headlines, after Donald Trump suggested using cleaning fluid as a cure, some people have injected harmful substances in hope to protect themselves. My teapot of lies was born of the coronavirus, a huge part of its discourse. To situate the project and shine a light on some of the most prevalent lies, at the time of the teapot’s creation, I decided to illustrate my fake teapot with coronavirus lies. I would spill the tea on Covid-19.