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Narratives of Resistance & Resilience

A Series of Data-Driven Projects Documenting the Anti-ELAB Protests in Hong Kong
A series of data-driven projects investigating non-traditional ways of resistance and resilience, created during the on-going Anti-Extradition Amendment Bill movement in Hong Kong. In each experiment, I work with different forms of protest artifacts to explore the relationship between distance and narrative ­— be it my physical distance being 8,000 miles away from events I deeply care about, the distance between pro-establishment and pro-democratic narratives, or the distance in media rhetoric and interpretations.

1. On My Mind
2. Magnetic Bullshit — Hong Kong Police Edition
3. Interpreted Narratives

Public Showcase

The series is exhibited in CultureHub (New York). The piece Magnetic Bullshit is shown at Tai Kwun Contemporary (Hong Kong) and (part of The Wrong Biennale).

︎ Talk at Processing Community Day NYC
︎ Interview by Daniel Shiffman at ITP Spring Show
Concept, Interaction & Visual Design, Development

JavaScript, HTML/CSS, Python, YouTube DL

Project 1
Physical Distance: On My Mind

A data portrait of all protest-related information I have consumed since September 2019. As you hover over the box, the related articles I've read that hour of the day pop up. The brighter the color of the box, the more information I’ve read in that hour of the day. 

The portrait speaks to the guilt and despondency one feels being physically far from events they deeply care about, a feeling shared by many in diaspora. The only act of solidarity and attempt to bridge the disconnection is through consuming as much information as possible.

Project 2
Narrative Distance: Magnetic Bullshit — Hong Kong Police Edition

I scraped over eighty YouTube transcripts from Hong Kong police’s press conferences. While the result of the compiled transcript is not perfect, there is a parallel between a machine-generated interpretation and an authoritarian narrative. I then fed the 600-page raw transcript into a Markov chain and cut-up structure.
List of the commonly used words in Hong Kong police's press conferences

Referencing the popular Magnetic Poetry, Magnetic Bullshit is a fridge magnet kit featuring the 300+ most popular words gleaned from over 80 Hong Kong police press conference transcripts. Participants could start any sentences with “Hong Kong Police”. You can freely create your version of the police’s narratives within their transcripts, reveal your version of truth, or you could “make” the police apologize.

Images of audience interaction with Magnetic Bullshit at Tai Kwun Contemporary

Project 3
Interpretative Distances: Interpreted Narratives

An online data-collection system created to evaluate how different individuals read, interpret, and understand the same material differently. Inspired by Alexandra Bell’s  Counternarratives, Interpreted Narratives shows participants an article compiled from 8 pro-China and pro-Hong Kong news articles reporting on the siege of Polytechnic University (Nov 17-29, 2019). I then ask the participant to highlight the 3 most important sentences in the article, submit 3 words in response and chose a suitable headline image. Upon completion, the audience sees the aggregated responses from all participants, which has been stored in a database.

This series of projects would not be possible without the generous support and advice from Clay Shirky, Genevieve Hoffman, Allison Parrish, Sukanya Aneja, Mark Lam, Rui An, Huiyi Chen, and Vince Shao.

© winnie yoe 2023