Amplified Division via #FakeNews

Amplified Division via #FakeNews is a research-based series that examines how social media is threatening the fabric of democracy.  Looking to the past, this new collection of works explores how historical figures, all of whom pre-date Twitter, may have used the platform had it been available to them in their time. Designed to mimic the layout of a tweet, each work appropriates language from the writings of cultural leaders, innovators, intellectuals and tyrants, while maintaining Twitter’s 280-character format. Their words and catch-phrases are then paired with current tweets and hashtags, in a format that suggests a "retweet" layout. For added effect, each of the digital prints are mounted onto Plexiglas that is meant to resemble the shape and form of a smartphone or a handheld device. Whether it is Sojourner Truth commenting on the death of Eric Garner, or Hitler commenting on the 2017 White Supremacist rally in Virginia, Amplified Division via #FakeNews offers insight into today’s roiling social landscape through the words of historical figures.

“By connecting people and giving them a voice, social media has become a global force for plurality, democracy and progress,” How the World was Trolled, The Economist, Nov 4-10, 2017. However, once considered a boon to democracy, social media does not cause division so much as amplify it.  With the spread of fake news having gone viral on social media—from thousands of fake Russian Twitter accounts to the “keyboard army” helping the Philippine president disseminate false narratives—social media outlets are steadily eroding our trust in the daily content that we consume. Inspired by the absurd digital proclamations made by America’s Twitter President, Amplified Division via #FakeNews seeks to make great use of divisive, hate-filled language by unmasking the poisonous underbelly of social media.