The poor image thus constructs anonymous global networks just as it creates a shared history. It builds alliances as it travels, provokes translation or mistranslation, and creates new publics and debates. By losing its visual substance it recovers some of its political punch and creates a new aura around it.

– Hito Steyerl (2013). The Wretched of the Screen.

KEYWORDS: empathy; the power of digital image; disinformation; discourse.

SUMMARY: I aim to expose possible situations where the digital image was used as a tool for political propaganda. Internet Research Agency was accused of manipulating the American population ahead of the 2016 presidential elections. IRA shows a vast knowledge of internet culture, the power of image, and human behaviours.

DIRECTION: With this investigation I want to study and understand their strategy. They blended in with the targeted crowd, in a social media context, using the same language and creating images with the intent to achieve viral status. This images are shared among a number of different accounts all run by the “agency”, making them circulate and reach new possible followers. The content is not inherently political, it touches the concerns of the targeted community, and through some posts it creates discourse, distrust of the system, disinformation. The audience, bombarded by this kind of information, tends to believe it.

RESULTS: Exposing and bringing awareness to the issues brought on by the digital image in an internet community. Involving the community actively in the discover of said issues, with the intent to make them think for themselves. I aim to use various methods to achieve this, namely websites, social media platforms, video, etc.

Ana Serra


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