by Jiayi Young, September 7, 2020
Four years ago, I set out on a journey determined to figure out a way to track the spread of disinformation on Twitter and make the information available to the public. At the time, social media, such as Twitter, displayed enormous potential for swaying public opinion, and I wondered how it worked and wanted access to it. I was curious about the dynamics between beliefs and power in an engineered environment designed to reverberate sentiments where what was not there was artificially inflated and what was not true was manufactured to be true.
Four years later, we find ourselves in a place where Twitter is a principal place where users fabricate and fan disinformation, and the activities are incessant. What is more? The world is grappling with a compounding effects of social, economic, and political problems. And on top of it, we are coping with a pandemic that seems to have no end. There is so much at stake, and everyone has so many concerns. When I was a child, if I had a bad day, my mother would always say to me "明天会更好" (tomorrow will be a better day). I can't help but wonder what tomorrow would hold.
Project Echo is a public participatory platform where the fabrication of the fake meets the real and profound personal concerns of the everyday. In fleeting moments, we think about home, family, and friends; we worry about safety and the future; we ponder life and death, experience love and hate, and dread and hope. It is in these flashes of ephemerality, our space is truly our own and deeply personal. These thoughts offer a glimpse into the deeper layers of culture where our shared humanity and resilience are found.
This project juxtaposes tweets of disinformation and thoughts of fleeting moments in one place. As artifacts of this transitional moment in history, they challenge a virtue we have known for as long we have existed - telling the truth! This project stands as art to bring consciousness to the nature of a collective human experience today, and at the same time, is intended as activism in the public place as a stance against the culture of the fake.
My mother also taught me "人不能说慌" (one shall not lie). I can't help but wonder where we are with this as a society today.
/////// TRACK Disinformation >> view archived visualization.