Blog post 10: The ‘Task 3’ Journey

Based on my research journey I had a very distinct idea of the area of my topic I wished to explore further coming into task 3. My research had led me to question something that had appeared in my task from the very first blog post.

I wanted to explore this idea of language and how we selectively choose language, which more subversively shapes our views. Language is also extremely powerful in how it creates these verbal boundaries between people such as us, them or alien. This carefully curated language is what starts to dehumanize a group that is removed from us an unable to tell there own story.

It is almost as opinion leaders like the media and political leaders start to define boundaries through language that the general public becomes more complacent with such language adoption and therefore the subversive meanings of grouping and separating people. From reading the news articles, statements by politicians and discussing this topic with people from opposing sides of the arguments surrounding asylum seekers that you can start to differentiate the language that shape bigger ideas. This plays into ideas of how we associate of a human level to asylum seekers, there right to our land or the right to come to our land.

Originally with task 3 I wanted to attack the problem head on and this idea of the rumor mill where half-truths develop into truths. I wanted to address the misconceptions and half-truths that develop at their source. With this challenge my goal was to create a twitter bot that analyzed isolated language and replied to tweet correcting misused language such as illegal alien in an effort of help re-humanizing asylum seekers. After discussions with Tom left the conclusion that a twitter bot was to clinical and detached making my aim of humanization counteractive.

From here I went back to square 1. Really analyze what I was trying to express in language. This is what brought me back to the articles and an observation I had made about evocative and descriptive language.

Through sound data visualization I have chosen key stakeholders that have played a pivotal role in shaping the public opinion of asylum seekers. These people include Tony Abbot, Peter Dutton, The Australian and The Herald. Creating a database of all language and its frequency used by each individual stakeholder will be recorded. This will be the basis for a verbal iteration; in which the data will be read out. The words will be ranked in order to their isolative and both negative nature. Through a motion graphic using faces of asylum seekers each piece will be labelled by its maker, for example Tony Abbot. With each word that is spoken the face will be visually stroked out with a black line connoting the idea of redacted text which it about the censorship of language. The message of this piece is a representation of how the voice of the asylum seekers is not heard but their story and the media and politicians have shaped who they are which help shape these misconceptions.

In particular this project is about creating mindfulness through awareness of language and its subversive power in shaping opinion and therefore is aimed at being an accessible public piece.

Caitlin Kerr
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