Hacking Story Frameworks: Final Project Discussion

Present your group’s chosen project (1) Frame the problem (WHY), (2) What’s the story / idea (3) Inspiration / References (4) Next steps

For my final project I am working with Zoe Bachman. We are continuing my mid term project, the open world art game”Heist,” A free roaming art game intended for users to discover the nefarious and secretive practices of consumer banks that directly contribute to gun violence in New York City.

“The information is public,” was the most context changing moment of my conversation with Anna Brower, who is may contact at the Office of The Public Advocate of New York City. Bloomberg, the privately held financial software, data, and media company publishes TD Bank’s dealings with weapons manufacturers. I very quickly started to ask why then, if this information is so readily available for us, is this conversation taking up so little of our attention? In our current state of content aggregators and social media feeds delivering our news, we see relevant, ongoing, and topical environmental and social issues begin to trend upwards and outwards.

We have seen in the last many months solidarity with Standing Rock and the NO DAPL movement, and even in the last few days thousands of people checking in on Facebook to help the Water Protectors. This past summer we saw solidarity for BLM in the form of boots on the ground protest and huge amounts of support shown by social media users. After Pulse Nightclub, there was an incredible outpouring of support for the victims, but the underlying issue of gun control, which was in fact talked about after the event, has faded into the background, barring some longer lasting outcomes.

So, I must ask, how can an ongoing problem  with such an ingrained sense of presence in American life be tackled, without having to rely on one seminal event to gain the type of solidarity movement we have seen brought forth for other issues revolving around social justice issues?*

I do have an answer, or at least, a tactic I believe can make a difference: Spread the information which is actively being hidden in plain sight.

If we want to stop the cyclical relationship between banks, weapons manufacturers and inner city gun violence, It is imperative to get this information spread to the public. By doing this, we can put pressure on the forces that keep the gears of this systemic problem turning.

To quote my midterm:

“I absolutely believe that after learning this information an incredibly large amount of people will want to distance themselves from this system. Having conducted research within ITP and my social network, the financial backing of weapons manufactures by consumer banks is very often surprising and upsetting information to learn, as well as being in complete opposition of many, if not most people’s ideals.”

My vision:

To create an intimate and immersive story for a wide audience that details the true impact and relationship between six financial institutions and the weapons manufacturers they finance. By doing this in an immersive 3D environment, I can imitate real neighborhood in New York where real protesting has been occurring. I believe this will work to engage people within the stories being told, as through experiencing the world where these events take place (protests, actual instances of gun violence, displacement, police harassment), they will come to understand that their own seemingly innocuous actions have a true impact, not only the city as whole, but potentially their own neighborhood.


References & Inspirations:

When talking with Zoe, I was very inspired by the Illuminator, a group she works with which does guerrilla projections for social causes. This was a major inspiration for a sticker campaign where anyone can quickly brand a bank’s windows/doors/atm with an informational sticker.

Letitia James’ outspoken nature on the topic and her office’s diverse way of tackling the issue.

SOS Brooklyn

Next Steps:

Interviews with:

  • Public figures who are outspoken on this topic
  • Social Justice advocates
  • Residents of neighborhoods where this is a ongoing problem
  • Anyone who would benefit from a platform to share their story/views

A mixed media campaign that encompasses:

  • A sticker campaign for use on offending banks E.g. “I support gun violence!”
  • a trailer for the game
  • mock up adds
  • Video game style instruction manual outlining the nefarious practices of offending banks.

I think this can be done. Looking forward to going full steam.

*I could have hyperlinked each word in this sentence with a link to an article about a violent act carried out with a gun, but this would surely be an exercise in futility in trying to capture the sheer volume of events that occur yearly in the United States. Let this be a good measure.



Banks, Weapons & The Art of Resistance.


Banks, Weapons & The Art of Resistance.

  bankingagainstusLetitia James speaking in front TD BANK

As reported by the Public Advocate for the City Of New York, TD Bank lent $280 – $300 million to Smith & Wesson. Letitia James, is the Public Advocate for the City of New York, the second highest ranking elected office in the City. As stated on her website,  As Public Advocate she serves as a direct link between New Yorkers and their government, acts as a watchdog over City agencies, and investigates complaints about City services.

Quoting this CBS article, James stated that ““Money that fuels gun violence is blood money.” She wants the city to take a look at its own contracts with TD Bank. James’ letter, sent to TD Bank’s President & CEO Mike Pederson, TD Bank’s Chairman of the Board Bharat Masrani, and TD Securities’ Chairman, CEO, and President Bob Dorrance, made five specific demands:”

  1. TD Bank and TD Securities should immediately review and terminate, to the extent possible, their agreement with Smith & Wesson;
  2. TD Bank and TD Securities should disclose the full amount and justification for any income earned on their deals with Smith & Wesson;
  3. TD Bank and TD Securities should immediately donate the income earned on these deals to organizations working to end gun violence;
  4. TD Bank and TD Securities should conduct a full review of all business dealings with firearm manufacturers, terminate such dealings, and donate any income from such deals to organizations working to end gun violence; and
  5. TD Bank and TD Securities should publicly pledge to not engage in any further business dealings with any firearm manufacturers.

My first ever savings account was with TD Bank, and I still bank with them today. TD Bank plays a significant part in my life and yet it’s business practices are absolutely incongruent with my beliefs.

I would absolutely not buy products from a corporation that makes deals with arms manufactures, so why would I loan money to one?


Other Banks Involved

  • BB&T
  • Berkshire Bank
  • Citizens Financial Group,
  • People’s United Bank,
  • Regions Financial Corp.,
  • TD Bank

Together, these institutions provided $178 million in loans to Sig Sauer in December 2015, according to data from Bloomberg.

These banking institutions are directly funded by me, and these institutions directly fund gun violence in the United States and worldwide.

My Vision:

An intimate story that shows where your money goes and the impact of the presumably innocuous decisions we make. Show how to resist these forces through a creative and artistic story, and put forth the concept of “Art As Resistance/ Resistance As Art”

To quote Letitia James letter to TD Bank:

“You have the opportunity to be a voice of leadership and to work towards a safer and more just society. I urge you to renounce those profits that you have received by dint of your financing of manufacturers of firearms.”

A great summation of the message I want to encourage people with – we have power to be leaders change our world through our actions.



I absolutely believe there is a large amount of people who after learning about this will feel that this is a system they want to distance themselves from. I would like to spread this knowledge to those who are not aware of this very important information.


Concept 1:

A first person video project where we are following the money as it gets deposited into the bank and eventually takes form as a weapon. (Inspired by Bear 71).


Concept 2:

A data visualization of the flow of money – built as an installation (think of the vertical screen near the elevators).


Concept 3:

A website instructing how to take your money out of these financial institutions and which institutions are better alternatives. Create a seal of approval for banks who are not invested in arms manufacturing and/or related business.


Next week:

Investigate further into how our money is used by the institutions we bank with.

Look into digital currency (Bitcoin).


Active viewership as protest: a new type of activism and a new type of art.


Thoughts On Active Viewership:

1)Age relations: The first debate – Trump is seventy, Clinton sixty-eight. Nixon was forty-seven,  Kennedy forty-three.

A biographical timeline ticker running throughout the debate. Can anyone say they relate to either H.C. or D.T. ? In seeing the ages and actions of each candidate as they moved throughout their life, I believe voters of all ages will be able to entrench or change their political stance as we advance the humanization the candidates. Age is an incredibly identifiable trait, let’s make some headlines to show what was going on the voters and the candidates were at the same age place in their lives.


Age 21, 1968: Hillary Clinton – Thesis on Saul Alinsky

Writes her senior thesis about Saul Alinsky: “There Is Only the Fight: An Analysis of the Alinsky Model.” Saul Alinsky’s  organizing skills were focused on improving the living conditions of poor communities across America. In the 1950s, he began turning his attention to improving conditions in the African-American ghettos, beginning with Chicago’s and later traveling to other ghettos in California, Michigan, New York City, and a dozen other “trouble spots”.

Age 26,  May 1973: Hillary Clinton — Receives Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School, where she served on the editorial board of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action. During her second year, she worked at the Yale Child Study Center.

Age 27, October 1973: Donald Trump –  Trump organization charged with violating Fair Housing act. The U.S. Justice Department sues the Trump Organization, charging that it frequently violated the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against potential black buyers.U.S. Justice Department V.S. Trump

Age 27, 1973: Donald Trump – Forever A Smoking Gun

“The younger Trump demonstrated the brash, combative style that would make him famous, holding forth at a news conference in a Manhattan hotel to decry the government’s arguments as “such outrageous lies.” He would also say that the company wanted to avoid renting apartments to welfare recipients of any color but never discriminated based on race.”

Age 70, 2016: Donald Trump: Asserts debate are rigged against him

In a series of interviews over the past week, the Republican nominee has asserted that “the system is being rigged” against him. The first of three scheduled debates between Trump and Hillary Clinton will be held on Sept. 26, with NBC’s Lester Holt as the journalist questioning the candidates. “I think it’s terrible,” Trump told Fox News Channel over the weekend. “They want the host to go after Trump.”

2)  Rhetoric v.s. Rhetoric: Appeal to decency – Can we unite under parts of the democratic platform?

“Among Democrats, 78 percent say they have a favorable view of Clinton, lower than the 89 percent favorability rating Obama had at this point in the race in 2012. Clinton’s favorability drops to 28 percent among independents versus Obama’s 47 percent.” “Most of us around here will vote Democratic, we always do, but we’re not overly enthusiastic for Clinton,” said resident Pablo Marron. “But we are united in our opposition to Trump.” – Fortune Magazine 26 Sept, 2016

In quickly and artistically (DataVis, Artful design, Curated quoting) juxtaposing the actual diction of the campaigns we will be able to take down the seductive macho ascetic of language used by the republican campaign and unpack the political platform of the other democratic and third parties.

Clinton Issue:Criminal justice reform

“Making new investments to support state-of-the-art law enforcement training programs at every level on issues like use of force, de-escalation, community policing and problem solving, alternatives to incarceration, crisis intervention, and officer safety and wellness. To successfully reform our criminal justice system, we must work to strengthen the bonds of trust between our communities and our police, end the era of mass incarceration, and ensure a successful transition of individuals from prison to home. As president, Hillary will focus on a few key areas.”



“The police in our country do not get respect. Our law enforcement officers deserve our appreciation for the incredible job they do.”


3) Active viewership as protest: a new type of activism and or/ a new type of art activism.

who are the artists, researchers and organisers interested in exchanging experiences, program, technology, software and visions in the field of synestesia, experimental film and video, digital video, live video connected to theatre, dance and music.

-Marko Kosnik.

By actively refuting the talking points, by actively comparing them to failed platform statements, by actively saying “No” to the redundant policy themes of  education system reform,  lower corporate tax rates, moving away from fossil fuels, immigration policy reform – by using the “art of resistance” (in our case, resistance to the doctrine of the debate by way of “re-mix”)  we can create an exchange between art and in modern political organizing, in both the instant digital world and the faster paced actuation of political organization in the physical world.

Within moments of heated political energy, we can mobilize not just in the physical world, as seen in the way that social media played a role in the 2011 Egyptian Revolutions, but we can continue to deepen, reorganize, morph, and entrench the way we mobilize online. If we imagine the way that popular opinion and social media have played a part in modern political campaigns/political climate/political analysis/post political event reflection, (Troktiko of Greece,  18 Days In Egypt), we can see that activism is being put in the hands of those who are within the event itself and who can now create the artistic reflection and artistic representation of the event. The citizens will decide what is truth and we will not continue to be subject to the media’s interpretation of events and its proselytizing effect. We will decide how this picture is painted.  

Ultra-Red describes this action as “The art of resistance,” a practice that, like traditional and institutional art, has its own set of aesthetic and operational frameworks.


Rush Limbaugh says “pneumonia”


Rush Limbaugh – Pneumonia.  

Talk radio and myself have a strong connection, mainly due to my ownership of an automobile and a taste for the AM frequencies. As a non resident alien (I am Canadian) within the United States, I have a good mind of contrast between my home country’s radio and the radio that is broadcast in the United States. Whereas the number one show in the United States is that of a right wing conservative, the only attempt at a right-of-center radio platform in Canada, Sun news Network, would last only from 2011 to 2015 as it failed to find a buyer after its owner, Quebecor, shut down the Sun News Network altogether for lack of audience. The incredible pervasiveness of right wing, conservative radio in the United States has gripped me since I have moved south. So, who is it that we are all listening to?


As propagated by the many bugle calls of his show, the right wing conservative Rush Limbaugh is in fact the most listened to voice in America. With a CUME (cumulative weekly audience) of 13.25 million unique listeners per week, The Rush Limbaugh show is the most listened to talk radio program in the United States. Out of the 10 most listened to radio programs in the USA, four are conservative talk radio and if we exclude music from that same list, 5 of the top 10 are conservative talk shows. The seconds highest ratings go to the NPR program Morning Edition, who as a network have a demographic that is largely Democratic (as reported by Talkers, the leading publication covering talk radio, the NPR audience is 17% republican, 37% Independent, 43% Democratic here is a visual resource published by NPR visualizing its audience). It is hard to grasp who these statistics and ratings truly represent and whether or not they can be used to adjust our lens of the political climate within the country.


BUT! Let us look at this passage from a very informative article from Politico,


“First and foremost, I’m a businessman,” he [Limbaugh] told the biographer Zev Chafets in 2008. “My first goal is to attract the largest possible audience so I can charge confiscatory ad rates. I happen to have great entertainment skills … that enables me to sell airtime.”


A businessman and an entertainer, with the ability to get high ratings – this sounds very familiar to a man who Rush has neither aligned himself with nor campaigned against.

In fact, Rush and Trump do share some savvy tactics, but unfortunately for the voice of America, such traits have proved to be ill timed if not altogether ill advised. Where Rush failed to denote Trump’s easing of his immigration policies as a flipflop, he found it a lot harder than his party leader to explain his contradictory behaviour to his audience. When on air callers challenged him on his alignment with the policies of republican candidate, it was painfully obvious that he doesn’t subscribe to any ideology at all and simply propagates the party, and refuses to go against it regardless of road that party will take in actuality. I would imagine it must be embarrassing for the “Voice of America” to have to play ideological catch up to his party leader each time he decides to once again change his tone, and when you’re as emphatic and boisterous as Rush tends to be, I would imagine the sweat would start to bead more and more intensely after each town hall.


The intention of my supercut is to show the sublime tactics of the man whose talent is “on loan from God”. This here is a compilation of the word “pneumonia” from 3 shows (September 12th, 14th, and 16th) after Hillary Clinton’s admission of having pneumonia.