Alt-Right, Memes, and Networks

2016 — 2019 Abuse, Data, Politics, Social Networks

In 2013, I started stating feminist uses of social media in terms of online protest and organization. This gatherings online were often in response to offline and online harassment, which in turn, caused me to study harassment for the next seven years. While studying online harassment in digital spaces like Reddit, 4chan, 8chan, Facebook, Twitter, and others, I started to notice the growing American Alt-Right. For the past few years, online hate has veered into my area of study (and I started to study it). What arose out of this was a series of articles, workshops, collaborations, and even art pieces trying to unpack the context of language that is designed to harm, language that creates violence, and language that dehumanizes others.  Language, memes, and digital actions that create harm were the focus of my study.

This work was supported by the Eyebeam and BuzzFeed Open Lab Residency, collaborations with the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Knight Foundation and Democracy Fund Innovation Prototype Fund.

Here is some of the work that has come out of this study:
Analyzing the Alt-Right on Discord Channels Post Christchurch: The Southern Poverty Law CenterIdentity Evropa’s Neo Nazi Organizing Plans Revealed in New Leaks: Unicorn Riot
There’s An Alt-Right Version of Everything: Quartz
I Created a Secret Twitter Account to Follow the Alt-Right: BuzzFeed
Analyzing URLS Between the Pro Donald Trump and the AltRight SubReddit: BuzzFeed
An Illustrated Guide to Trolling: (Originally Published for Fusion News)

Talks on this subject have included keynotes with RePublica in 2017.

An art project, called Things are Rarely Binary, is exploring political tensions post the United States Presidential Elections in 2016, specifically on the fractured Left and the growing fasicism of the American Right.
Artist statement: The opposite of up is down, of forward is backward, but what are the opposites of the states of Left and Right? Politics are complicated and language is nuanced. With the emergence and establishment of the ‘alt-right’ in American politics and institutions, digital spaces and conservations have even more complexity now. Things Are Rarely Binary is a series of protest posters, observations, and provocations that come from the six months of digital ethnographic research I’ve down on the ‘alt-right.’ These participatory posters, which are snapshots into this subculture, serve as maps and questions on violent data and politics. Like digital spaces, these posters are designed to create conversations and observations from the audience with the artist, ones as complex as the conservations we already have, that attempt to address and dismantle the covert and overt violence created by white supremacy.
This piece was installed in 2017 at B4BEL4B in Oakland, California for the Believe the Hype show.