In PERSECUTING.US over a million americans are sorted by political affiliation and exposed to public persecution in the aftermath of the 2012 presidential election.
For months, Paolo Cirio
secretly stole data from Twitter.com on over one million Americans. Using a sophisticated sifting process, he determined the political affiliation of those people and scored their public statements and social connections in terms of the likelihood that they aligned with a political position.
More about HOW IT WAS DONE
The result is a database on the website Persecuting.us with over one million U.S. fellows sorted by political affiliation, and therefore exposed to the danger of future public persecution.
Persecuting.us offers a platform where everyone can take part in a participatory model pushed to extremes, engaging people in surveying and persecuting each other in a form of info-civil-war of political polarization, which can potentially erupt into defamation, intimidation and oppression of domestic enemies.
This art project is a massive citizen-sorting database organized along political lines, much like the private holdings that have amassed databases of voters in order to influence and monitor the electorate. The Republicans’ Themis and the Democrats’ Catalist are only the largest databases actively collecting personal information on hundreds of millions of Americans.
More about SOCIAL SORTING
During the last election, Twitter was used to track down people’s opinion, promote candidates by buying trending topics in public debates and invite citizen participation through tweeting their political statements. However, Twitter is a private company which monitors, manipulates and sells data on personal and public trends.
More about ANTISOCIAL MEDIA
This project breaks boundaries in art transgression with a Social Sculptural Performance made by a mass of people arranged and involved in an artwork without their permission. The accidental participants become part of a transformative spectacle with an unsettling narrative.
More about SOCIAL SCULPTURAL PERFORMANCE
The offline art installation evokes the activity of wiretapping the Internet to identify political activities. Through an audio installation the audience at the exhibition space can listen to an over-two thousand hour-long track of robotic voices reading selected statements of US citizens sorted by their political involvement.
Persecuting US is the third project by Paolo Cirio commenting on contemporary privacy issues. Just a month ago, Street Ghosts
, a project about Google Street View, generated media attention and concern worldwide. In 2011, Face to Facebook
hit over one thousand worldwide media outlets just one week after its publication.
The 2012 race for the White House was the most interactive election yet. The 2012 was the first year in which both political parties heavily used media such as Twitter to conduct their campaigns, and filled databases of people by aggregating large amounts of personal information.
The “Hashtag Election” of 2012 represents a new brand of hyperconnected electioneering, or the major use of Twitter to generate polls or statistics which influence political strategy. Voters were targeted to vote for a particular party in a form of direct manipulative language, bordering on intimidation.
They were further encouraged to participate by expressing their political opinion on social media, while political leaders attempted to target them with their message, engage with key demographics, and stumble on a genuine political “moment” on the same platforms, fueled by the same networks.
Some numbers about the 2012 presidential election on Twitter:
- During the conventions, Twitter users generated 14,289 tweets per minute in the wake of Republican nominee Mitt Romney's speech. When Michelle Obama finished speaking at the Democratic convention, the tweets were flying at a rate of 28,000 per minute. After President Obama's speech, Twitter reported a 52,757 tweet-per-minute pace.
- The first Presidential TV Debate generated 11.2M related tweets, the second generated 12.2M and the third debate 7.8M.
- During the vice presidential debate, women drove the social conversation by generating 55 percent of the tweets. There were 72,000 tweets (32 percent of the overall Twitter volume) about the economy. Next came Medicare and entitlements, at 45,000 tweets (20 percent), and Afghanistan, at 25,000 (11 percent).
- The Obama Administration purchased Twitter terms trending during the debate, including Jack Kennedy, Malarkey, Afghanistan in 2014 and VPDebate.
- The Republican National Committee, and the Republican-leaning super PAC Americans for Prosperity shelled out an estimated $120,000 each for a Promoted Trend - a phrase or slogan like RomneyRyan2012, FailingAgenda and 16TrillionFail.
- In 2010, The Washington Post purchased the hashtag #election
- In 2012 the presidential campaign set the record for highest spending ever, with a total of $2 billion.