Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Prompt 20: Dorothy

(Sadly I do not have access to my computer at the moment, and so most of my images are not the ones directly from election day [screenshots], but are archived images)

I spent my entire election day in my room writing papers. I did not vote because I have major policy issues with both candidates, but for entirely personal reasons I wanted Obama to win. If I was designing an exhibit based on my election day experience, however, it would be focused on politics, social media and web 2.0.

The exhibit experience is 30 minutes long, for 4 people at a time, maximum. The space is an enclosed four-walled room, decorated like a bedroom, with a mattress on the floor against one wall with a faux window, one wall the entrance, one wall with video imagery projected and one wall with the following text,
The 2012 election took place, for many Americans, entirely online. Facebook pages became political war-grounds as sisters realized brothers were Republicans and fathers accused sons of being socialists. With constantly live updating, social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr became running commentaries were individuals' self curated sounding boards expressed political ideologies and made political pleas constantly and often in dialogue with themselves.
This exhibit attempts to represent the experience of one twenty three year old woman who spent the entire election day at home and online.
 There are four touch screen tablets on the mattress. If users like, they can pick up a tablet. They will see, at first, a screen of a political cartoon or commentary post from a social networking site. The tablet will be loaded with hundreds of these posts which can be flipped through at will, updating with new posts on a timed, automated schedule.

. At random intervals the tablet will make a noise and an automated email will pop up. The user can open the email, if they want, and read one of the innumerable encouragement/recruitment emails sent out by the Obama campaign.

As the user explores this tablet and space, the lighting from the faux window will change, representing the progression of the day. At the same time, projected on the video wall, a time-elapsed divided screen of NPR's "Big Board" and Huffington Post's Election map will be constantly updating, showing their live-election results (which were actually quite varying).

Occasionally the videos on the wall would change, briefly flickering a cartoon, a silenced music video, a T.V. clip., or an election related gif.
 With seven minutes left of the experience, the posts on the tablet will all start shifting towards commentary on Obama's confirmed win, and when both election charts announce the win the screen will switch to this video
and recorded phone conversations will play over that throughout the space - a mother and father being happy the Black guy won, a brother who worked for Obama saying he's waiting for a concession speech, and this conversation with a young man in Oakland, CA.
MAN: Did you think he wouldn't win?
WOMAN: Yes! You forget, I live in actual America, where they don't want a terrorist president who loves gay Mexican anchor babies.
MAN: What, do they think he's gonna like, make reservations for pregnant Mexican queer people to get married?
WOMAN: Probably.
MAN: Do you hear that? They're rioting outside!
WOMAN: I bet you wanna go join, huh...
MAN: Yes. I'll smash a window for you.
And with that, the room will black out and the users can leave.

All in all, the exhibit should be a strange mix of comfort and complete sensory overload that represents the "always online" experience of social media and internet presence in a contemporary election.

No comments: