Brief – Create a branded, printed artefact that communicates a self-initiated cause or movement. It will lead the audience to a 10 second (min) video w/audio that is hosted online.
Activism project containing an artefact that brings the viewer to a video through an interaction of your choosing.
The goal here is to take a subject we are passionate about and act upon it. It is especially interesting considering the current social and political climate, as well as the fact that we haven’t worked on our own since the beginning of the course. This project is the first time we’re doing something that truly comes from us and over which we have complete control.
There are many issues I’d love to tackle such as feminism, fast fashion, LGBTQ+ rights, ableism and visibility for disabled people, BLM, amongst others. But I’m already working on disabilities and accessibility so I want to switch it up a bit.
We were looking at ads and activism within the advertising industry earlier. I came across the term ‘femvertising’, which is a term I’d been looking for for a long time. It translates to feminism, more often than not performative feminism, being used to sell you a product. Example: shampoo brands promoting confidence and ‘girl power’, as well as luscious locks, or basically any ad that uses ‘girl power’ as a way to reach women. While it’s beautiful and heartwarming to see, I’ll even admit to shedding a few tears on some of the best of them, it bothers me that confidence and empowerment are portrayed as the solution to fixing the patriarchal society we live in. I believe they are needed and much appreciated as they portray femininity in more liberating ways than it has in the past. Yet, I can’t help but feel like it belittles the problem. It’s an interesting debate because there is both a need for these ads as they push towards a better understanding and representation of femininity and at the same time there is an edge to it which is misrepresenting the problem and the work that needs to be done. Also, I dislike the idea of using someone’s rights as a way to sell products to those very same people.
I didn’t go down that route because it already permeates too many areas of my life. Instead, I went towards another area of activism that I hold close to my heart but that I haven’t worked on yet which is youth homelessness in the LGBTQIA+ community. 40% of homeless youth are queer. This is only those that our out. If we were to include the closeted youth, chances are the number would be much higher.
As a start, we made a quick poster in an hour or so.
I’m finding it difficult coming up with ideas. The interaction part is what stresses me out and I don’t know how to approach this in a relevant way. I’m trying to speak to people that either refuse to acknowledge another way of being or straight up don’t like it and discriminate against it. I need something eye-catching that will get them to interact with it and watch the video or force the interaction. Maybe posters? They could be disguised as biblical texts with the meaning hidden in it. I may have thought of Jehovah witnesses but make it gay and stealthy. They could be distributed from household to household and would be an efficient way to reach people.
Okay, so I’m not feeling the whole poster thing. I’ll keep it in mind as a last resource but it’s my final year and I want to do better than that. Let’s backtrack and look into something else. Pinterest had me browsing fashion trends from the 80s scene until 2 a.m and what is notoriously part of gay culture? Fashion. Additionally, you can difficultly make a more public statement than one through fashion.
There’s a book called “Closet cases: Queers on what we wear” written by Megan Volpert. It puts images on the discovery process people part of the LGBTQ+ community go through after coming out and how they explore and communicate their identity through clothing.
It reminds me of an exhibition I went to last year called “Kiss My Genders” and one of the artists exposed was Hunter Reynolds. In 1993, he created ‘The Memorial Dress’, a ballgown on which features the names of the victims of AIDS. It is such a powerful testimony to the horror the gay community lived through in the 80s.