When it became time to brainstorm on final ideas, I struggled with deciding what exactly I wanted to focus on. From the beginning of the semester, I carried this idea of creating an interactive and tangible newspaper - where the user could press buttons within the newspaper article and hear the words relation to the picture and literature. The idea didn’t stick but did come around, eventually. After having gone through the depressing election and seeing how much of an effect Donald Trump has had on the American society, I decided to rethink my idea. I looked deeper into the tactics of Donald Trump and the characteristics of the American society, an I found so many similarities. I then decided that I would focus on creating some type of interactive mirror, symbolizing how Trump is simply a reflection of our society and that’s why he (actually, not very surprisingly) was able to get elected.
In one of our last few classes, Ben mentioned that our projects should not just be a fulfillment to the class’ requirements, but something that would actually mean something to us. That was a huge turning point for me, within my project. I felt uninspired with the mirror, and realized that it was because devoting any more energy to Donald Trump was becoming too mentally and emotionally exhausting. So, I decided to actually focus on something that has meant a lot to me and on issues that I have been thinking of very frequently - systematic racism and an alternative reality where the racism did not work so much against me and everyone that looked like me. Blacktopia was then formed.
Creating Blacktopia was a very interesting experience. With every statistic or way of life that I gathered, I flipped it and made it so that White people would be the ones to be oppressed or at a disadvantage as opposed to how it usually is with Black people. To create a world where this was how society ran, was mind-blowing. I’m very interested in how a White person may experience these stimulated scenarios if they allowed themselves to be truly empathetic to the situation. (The illustrations were done by me)
When enrolling in this class, I initially thought the social problems other than the election, would be discussed. I wanted to go back to that initial idea of the course as I created this project - thus, allowing me to hack in to the contemporary political rhetoric of the American society through everything from beauty standards to dog-whistling racist political rhetoric code to systematic racism, and so on.
I was able to use the tendencies of American politics, that I learned while in this course, in my project. From this course, I have become even more aware of systematic issues and double standards, and I was excited to explore those ideas within my project, Blacktopia.
You can experience Blacktopia with this link.
Or, simply look at the images below: