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I Swear To Tell The Truth

03 Sep 2017 /

Enter a building that was designed to confuse. Slip on a pair of headphones. Peer through a hospital window.

And prepare to question how you know what to believe about Syria.

I SWEAR TO TELL THE TRUTH is an immersive experience commissioned by Imperial War Museums. Developed in IWM London in summer 2017, the final version is on at IWM North in Salford Quays, Manchester from 15th March to 28th May 2018.

hospital bloody window

“This is a journey into understanding how you understand things to be true.
We all have beliefs about the world and our place in it.
But what does it take to change those beliefs?”


Combining instructional audio, documentary interview material, a booklet, participatory exercises, and two audio-visual installations, this journey moves from the personal to the playful, and onwards to Syria. The piece uses the museum as a canvas to observe how stories are told, and to actively – and intimately – think about how we make sense of the world around us.


“I guess the most important thing is to challenge the notion of narrative, narrative as story telling. That this is beyond storytelling.
This is what can you deduce empirically and factually.
So, it’s not to say narratives and counter narratives. It’s to say how do you find truth in that.”


If Vietnam was the first war live on television, Syria is the first war on YouTube. The civilian uprising began on Tuesday 15th March 2011, when pro-democracy protestors marched on the streets and the government opened fire. Since that day, people have reached into their pockets, filmed what they saw in front of them and uploaded the footage. Now, there is more than 7 years of material on YouTube; there are more minutes of the war online than there have been minutes of the war.

Following a successful run at IWM London, visitors are invited to explore Daniel Libeskind’s beautiful and challenging building, right opposite the BBC and ITV. From poking at the suspicious intentions of state-run television networks, to grappling with our cloudy internal prejudice, I SWEAR TO TELL THE TRUTH is a thought-provoking experience inviting you to inspect how social and information networks have affected your perception of the world we live in, and your place in it.

hospital wide

Duration: 45 minutes, depending on personal speed.

Adults: £6
Concession: £4

For more information: https://www.iwm.org.uk/events/i-swear-to-tell-the-truth

Extracts from visitor feedback during first R&D iteration at IWM London

“Incredible – best exhibition I have ever been to so I could not fault it.”

“Fascinating – best thing I’ve been to in years.”

“Incredible – my heart is pounding in excitement and my legs are wobbly in inspiration, this was fantastic.”

“Really engaging – made me engage with the museum (that I know very well) in a new way.”

inside IWM north