The Online Racism Question?

How do I attract racial abbuse online?

I know this sound somewhat sick, but I know it exists because I’ve seen it.

Do I simply create a profile and wait? What provokes people to be racist?

Just a photo, a video, etc?

I think these questions are quite interesting in an online context. In my experience of racism, trying to prove the incident tends to be quite difficult. However, where comments appear to remain online indefinitely, trying to prove racism is far easier. Perhaps online racism can shed a light on the functioning of race relations in society.

I could explore what prompts people to be racist my both looking it up online, and testing it myself.

The Cycle Question?

Ironically, I have had this conversation loads of times; racism appears to be cyclical in nature. It keeps on reappearing in society. Just when it appears to have put to rest, something happens to remind us that race related issues are still very much ‘of the moment’.

When it comes to producing projects related to society, I find it cruelly coincidental that my work can be re-contextualised by subsequent events reported in the media, particularly where race is concerned. Right now it is racism in football, which seems as if it should be archaic considering the games present make up. However supposed change is only that, as we are constantly given reason to believe that we have again completed a revolution that has taken us back to the issue of racism in society.

It is with this that I am most concerned with; I am more concerned with racism as an ornament in British culture more than I am concerned with the issue of race itself. Race only becomes an issue in light of racism, and it is through the spectacles of racism that I should look at racial identity politics.

The Power Question?

I am questioning how much power should be relinquished from artist/author to the audience in terms of their contribution. The last project which I worked on collaboratively was criticised precisely for this, claiming we hadn’t released enough power to the audience:

I understand that certain audiences expect this level of participation so will need to treat this carefully in my work. We tried in the Convergent Media project to crowd source information and media as we went through research and production. This was quite successful however problematic, in that we fundamentally had control over what went into the work.

I suppose I do not want my message to be lost in some way, especially since it is based upon a theme I feel so passionately about. Perhaps there is some way to subvert my ideas into a project that does enable this participation. An idea that immediately comes to mind is creating an online profile and seeing how much racial abuse I could attract. It would be an interesting experiment, less controlled, however my concern that racism still exists would possibly be proved.


The Audience Question?

My work is heading towards being an online project, so then the question of audience is important. The internet provides a global audience in the sense that those with access and intrest in a particular site can visit it. So my audience couldn’t be global/everyone in that sense even if I wanted it to be.

My audience may change depending on the main themes that I deal with. I am not sure from where to start, the audience or the idea? I had originally pitched that I wanted my project to be aimed at my peers, specifically Londoners in their late teens/early 20’s. However I really don’t like work that is aimed at me and find it condescending so take issue in doing the same in that respect.

I think it best to deal with a target market on one level as I understand that concept in a commercial product sense, and think separately about audiences more conceptually and in-line with my theoretical debates.

I also wonder how an interactive art page, or online research project can gather an audience? Perhaps through multi-platform and promotion through blogs, or like some of the work I have seen, a combined exhibition. Again, bringing audiences to a site will depend on that audience, determining the techniques used to pull attention.

The Alienation Question?

I mentioned previously that I don’t want to alienate audiences with my work. However, might it be that for my own communicative process that this sense of alienation should be presented as it expresses my experience of racial identity? Perhaps there is a balance; it could be that I do not alienate the audience with the interface but with the concepts embedded in the work.

The Social Network Question?

Understanding that social media is a recent phenomena, I wonder if its appeal is dying out, and if so, in favour of what else?

I ask this having become bored with Facebook, Twitter and whatever else I signed up to. I have noticed many of my “friends” have deserted these sites also. So I wonder if I need to incorporate these sights specifically as an application on the site, or instead understand and adapt their concepts and functioning as interactive experiences in my work.

I don’t want my work to alienate people, which is why incorporating familiar online experiences was essential. However should it be so specific and literal as to reuse Facebook and Twitter platforms?

The Ongoing Question?

I have been struggling on deciding what format the project should take. It has been frequently mentioned to me that I could produce a web-site, or set up a platform for future use. Though I can see why this could be a good idea, it personally isn’t for me as I have tried such ideas in the past in the form internet forums, and school based text/phone services.

I would feel much more comfortable, and feel that I could do myself and the subject matter justice by creating a project aimed at being a reference tool. Though this would suggest the project wouldn’t be ongoing, certain elements could be adapted to enable continued engagement be that through comments and feedback. I also question whether ongoing engagement with project would be simply that people keep revisiting the site as a reference tool.

I was concerned that a project that appeared somewhat complete, would in fact become historicised. However, this may not be negative as it could increase its value as reference to a particular period.

The Visual Essay Question?

I like the idea of possibly combining visual practice with theoretical discussion and research that I have grown fond of on the course. I have been dreading the major project, and would prefer to do another dissertation in its place, so combining a thesis with visual practice could become a fulfilling project for me. I wonder if this would be viable, and whether or not I should base my work around one key theory, or perhaps visualise a whole body of work and research.

I already feel quite strongly about this visual essay idea, and feel that it may help my idea development, even if applied simply as a methodology to experiment with.