Arts and Design

Artist visualises Twitter abuse of Australian politicians

The vitriolic abuse directed towards Australian politicians on Twitter has been brought to life as artworks as part of The Australian National University (ANU) 2017 Vice Chancellor’s College Artist Fellows Scheme.

The vitriolic abuse directed towards Australian politicians on Twitter has been brought to life as artworks as part of The Australian National University (ANU) 2017 Vice Chancellor’s College Artist Fellows Scheme.

The scheme pairs ANU School of Art and Design PhD and Honours students with academic researchers to work collaboratively across a range of disciplines.

PhD Candidate Jen Fullerton, who works in sculpture and visual arts, paired with social scientist Dr Robert Ackland, whose recent research tracked the Twitter activity of Australian politicians.

The result is a series of sculptural works, including one where abusive tweets are represented as bullets in an ammunition belt. Ms Fullerton said she was shocked when she first saw the data from Dr Ackland’s research.

“I couldn’t believe the amount of anger that was out there, it’s just incredible. It goes very quickly from a very simple conversation to firing up,” Ms Fullerton said.

“Part of what was so shocking is that some of the comments coming back from the politicians were just as abusive.

“Access to this data has given me the opportunity to discuss the use of abusive language on social media as a new and accepted form of public discourse, like a digital version of toilet door graffiti, with users eagerly slandering and defaming public figures.

“The resulting work is part data visualisation and part social commentary – inspired and informed by data and expressed through the physicality and emotive language of sculpture.”

One of her works titled, We the people: Shooting from the hip, comprises 15 ammunition belts representing 15 days of 2016 – seven days before the federal election on 2 July 2017, Election Day itself, and seven days after.

Most Popular

ADVERTISEMENT

To Top