Empyre Discussion Articles

The first article I read from the Empyre site was called, “What do Police Violence and Facebook Live mean for Feminist Data Visualization?” It was a post started by a woman named Katherine who was posing questions about the ethicacy of Facebook Live and other like-applications and viral video media outlets. Through analyzing this subject through the specific lens of police brutality, Katherine explained that she is skeptical of the ability for these media videos to actually produce results and create change. She states that other than bringing attention to the issue, she wonders how viewing the traumatic videos will actually work to produce a change in the system itself. Another possible issue that she raises is Facebook’s motivations for creating such applications. She wonders if rather than being intended as a platform for social change, it is simply another ploy to collect data on its users in order to better help advertisers.

I read another post that was in response to this, and others responded to her post and shared their views, one of which I found to be incredibly interesting. Christina McPhee argued that when the public views something traumatic online, for example Diamond Reynold’s heart-breaking video of her husband being shot by the police in their car, we all have a collective moment of memory that is created. She argues that time seems to stop as we all feel as though we are in the car there with her ourselves, and we can imagine the pain and empathize with what she is experiencing in that moment. McPhee claims that this in itself is a form of Data Visualization, because as we all witness this horrific event, we all collectively join together in a community. McPhee poses this idea in contrast with the staged videos of executions made by ISIS members, and she argues that there is a different effect on the public and society when the video content is clearly something that is genuinely representative of an injustice.

Finally, the last article I read was called “The Latin American Body and Landscape,” which was written by Carolyn Castano. She was introducing her body of work, which consists of visual art like painting, drawing, and video. Her work explores the role of Latina women in the media, specifically focusing on their perception in the news, through simulated newscasts. She created a fictional character named Silviana Godoy, who is based on a collection of real Spanish-speaking news anchors. I think that this is an interesting form of digital feminism, as it is using a digital medium and technology in order to draw attention to a specific issue, which in this case is that of Latina women in the news. As a film and media studies major I am particularly interested in this form of feminism as it makes use of entertainment in order to bring to light a deeper issue, in a way that doesn’t necessarily explicitly spell it out to the public. It almost seems to work more as a satire, which I think in many cases is extremely effective.

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