Desperate times call for innovative measures
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know by now that Brazil went through a highly controversial election cycle. What came out of it - or who - was an extreme right wing elected president that does not hold back on voicing his distorted views.
My position is that democracy tops fascist tendencies - above anything. And as a new media artist and tech specialist, I solely believe in the use of these tools to push the cause forward. Desperate times call for innovative measures and, just as in every other part of life, the times - and the mediums - have changed. The opposition needs to catch up. And so does the resistance.
Let’s embrace digital activism.
By digital activism I suggest going beyond the immediacy of sharing your thoughts on your Facebook wall within your personal bubble of like-minded friends. There’s true potential to not only make an impact, but to understand and reflect on the current trends, learn from them and help these facts guide the way.
Here are some examples of tech based activist pieces that have helped communities, and will hopefully help inspire the opposition -- and potential resistance, that will be necessary in the next four years.
Automated Bots: Beta, the Brazilian feminist Facebook bot that notifies participants of causes that need urgent actions, and helps them to engage in these causes that, many times, sneak past public eyes.
Mobile/Chat-based fact checking: Las Chicas Poderosas is an organization of women dedicated to elevating the understanding and awareness of digital tools, guiding Latin American communities to use them to support their causes. In this election cycle they have launched The Power to Elect. “Unlike other fact-checking initiatives, it uses WhatsApp (a MAJOR web-chat app popular in South America) not only as a source of information to be checked, but also as a content distribution channel. The final product of the checks are gifs and audios sent by the platform, with the purpose of returning to current users with verified information in the same vehicle in which it originally circulated. To participate, just send a current or a message with the phrase “I want to participate” to the number (21) 981405658.
Hacking/Domain-based: https://www.brettkavanaugh.com/ - Fix the Court bought the Brett Kavanaugh domain and after his confirmation to the Supreme Court redirected access to a landing page with resources for victims of sexual assault.
Data analysis and machine learning: The Electome “project is a machine-driven mapping and analysis of public sphere content and conversation associated with the 2016 presidential election campaign.” The insights are extremely revealing and knowing where it all ended, is worth the dig.
And, of course, an all time favorite hero - Jenny Holzer with her projections and LEDs.