Eindhoven / exhibited Dutch Design Week

FLASHING VIOLENCE

Interactive installation that gives a glimpse of content moderator work experience.
2020
Every day a huge number of extremely violent videos is posted on digital platforms, even though content moderators try to filter out the worst. This interactive installation puts you in their shoes and questions who should take responsibility for the horrible scenes that are out there. Is it up to the platforms to solve the problem, or could you also play a part?
I've seen a dreadful video of a man’s brain being shut from his skull on my Facebook timeline. Sometimes this graphic image still comes up to my mind, the tiny flesh particles around the perfectly round bone... I’m sure that after some time it will blur out from my memory. However, what if I would see this kind of imagery every day from 9 to 5? That’s what the content moderator profession is. This interactive installation gives you a glimpse of their work experience.
When I look back, what does this image actually means in the social architecture of media, why is it available? Does it educate or does it entertain? The social media commercial value is based on numbers of engagement of the content. It has been proven that negative material causes more responses. In that sense, supporting abusing/inappropriate content on the media creates economical benefits. Facebook is staging violence.

If we look back to history Colosseum - gladiator arena also was a social platform for entertainment with financial income, which used the act of violence for their benefits. It was organised by private figures(emperors) to gain popularity and love from society. This social scheme empowered the rich and used the suppressed groups of society.

Thinking about similarities between Facebook and Colosseum I question who is taking the weight of the gladiator in the system of social media...

Content moderators are sweating over for a little money to keep this system running. Besides looking at graphic violence all day, getting PTSD and ignoring their moral norms while checking the content, they also need to check-in and out when they go to the toilet. They are enslaved in the system.
On the outer wall of the installation, a blurred projection of graphic violence lures you in – after all, brutal images are intriguing. Who enters in spite of the warning gets to see the sharp version. As the successive videos become more violent, it is for you to decide whether to ban them from the internet or not.
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