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.”
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.
- 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.