Do Something Good, is an incubation collective based out of New York City focusing on interactive experiences for the public.
Their blow_hot_and_cold exhibition features a life size politician mounted to a flagpole surrounded by eight high powered fans each representing a political subject with pro & anti opinions on the subjects of gun laws, climate change, health care and abortion.
The way the exhibit works is by reading tweets on the subjects featured with the power of the fans rising and decreasing when one of the issues are tweeted in real time, as each fan fluctuates the flag changes direction to face the option with the strongest support.
I caught up with the collective at I.M.A.G.E gallery in Brooklyn to find out why and how they came up with this project.
Tell me about Do Something Good and the project.
Do Something Good is an Incubation Collective primarily focused on realizing interactive experiences that arise at the cross section of art and technology; driven with the purpose of creating unique transformative experiences. blow_hot_and_cold is the first piece to manifest itself outside the digital realm and is a collaborative project of Damjan Pita, Derek Harms, Vasco Barbosa and Samar Zaman.
How did you come up with the concept?
We believe that politicians, particularly in the United States, no longer stand for what they truly believe. Their opinion is based on the topics and viewpoints that receive the most attention in media. The strategic teams behind these politicians are increasingly using data analysis like A/B testing to determine what opinion will be the most advantageous to their campaign.
Politicians are now in constant search of being on the leading side of popular opinion, with their beliefs vacillating like a flag in the wind.
How does it work?
Each political issue is represented by two opposing fans, one for and one against. By processing the sentiment of tweets in real-time, the power of each fan rises and falls based on the support that issue receives online. As each issue fluctuates, the politician shifts direction to face the opinion with the strongest support. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the installation by walking between the flag and the fans to disrupt the wind.
Why these topics?
As election day nears, there is a shift in focus of what topics politicians choose to dedicate their time and effort to. The four topics in the work currently have the largest volume of conversation on social media, and therefore likely to be the most influential in shaping the opinions of a potential candidate.
What are your views on these topics?
All members in our group are in support of gun regulation, female reproductive rights, universal healthcare and legislation that encourages the protection of the environment.
What would you like the outcome to be for this?
With blow_hot_and_cold we are calling out the unfortunate truth that politicians no longer stand for what they truly believe. Our hope is that visitors will be more aware of their influence on elected leaders.
What's next for you and this project?
With exactly one year today before the presidential election, we'd like to demonstrate the influence of this on the installation. And as this political phenomenon is not only a U.S. problem, we intend to bring the work to other countries and localise the topics to be relevant in that country.
You can follow Do Something Good at the below links. The exhibition is running until Thursday 12th November 2015 at I.M.A.G.E Gallery in Brooklyn.