Memes as an encryption language for political activism in the digital realm

A workshop to develop practical strategies to use memes as a medium to escape censorship methods such as image recognition control, word targeting and data crossing.

“Mark Zuckerberg announces he will run as a candidate for the US presidency. This news comes right after a series of new measures taken by Facebook to stop specific contents shared by the users. And we should expect even tighter measures to be applied in the next months. Indeed as many international commentators declare in these hours, Zuckerberg’s candidacy ends up turning Facebook into the proper emanation of a political party. New sensible topics are already under the evaluation of an External Committee. The Facebook team wants to understand techniques to limit the spread of negative comments or news which could irritate the lobbies backing the CEO’s candidacy. “- The New York Times, January 1st, 2020

During the workshop, participants will be asked to concentrate on this scenario and react on one of the sensible topics identified by the External Committee.

By using and applying different tactics presented to them, they will develop practical strategies to share comments on the topic through memes and escape censorship methods such as image recognition control, word targeting and data crossing.

Participants will be asked to play on the different levels of memes which include text, image, pop culture references and irony. The strategies developed will be drawn from examples of internet activism against digital censorship, as it is happening in China or Russia. Other inspirations will be provided by a general historical collection of activist and anti-censorship tactics developed in contexts of political control.

We are looking for youtuber, bloggers, memekers, communication strategists, documentarists, new media experts, hackers, programmers, visual artists, designers, video-makers, photographers, writers, poets, cultural producers, lawyers, policy makers, scientists, activists (environmental, political, and so on) and whoever has an opinion to share!

The workshop will include:

  • A kit for the activist memeker
  • Materials to rapidly translate and prototype your memes campaign in the physical world (customizable gadgets, printer, stickers…)
  • Snacks and drinks

A workshop by Memedom of Expression, developed in collaboration with the Asociación de Arte Útil.

The F*ck Censorship workshop is part of 100 DAYS OF LEARING.

This event is kindly supported by Creative Tracks, a pilot project entrusted to a consortium of eight partners from five different European countries, active worldwide.

Practical details:

Baltan Laboratories (Kastanjelaan 500, Eindhoven, NL)

Saturday 27 May, 13:00–18:30.

Tickets: €22,50 (regular) — €15,50 (students). You can buy your ticket on the Eventbrite page of the workshop.

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