Unerasable Characters II
Title: Unerasable Characters II / 刪不了的符號 II
:: Description ::The project explores the politics of erasure and the temporality of voices within the context of digital authoritarianism. It presents the sheer scale of unheard voices by technically examining and culturally reflecting the endlessness, and its wider consequences, of censorship that is implemented through technological platforms and infrastructure.
The project collects unheard voices in the form of censored/erased (permission denied) text, including emojis, symbols, English and Chinese characters, which is based on one of the biggest social media platform in China called Weibo. A daily scraping script is used to fetch those text via Weiboscope, a data collection and visualization project, developed by Dr. Fu King Wa from Hong Kong University, in which the system has been regularly sampling timelines of a set of selected Chinese microbloggers who have more than 1,000 followers or whose posts are frequently censored.Consisting of a custom-software (written in Python and p5.js) that scrapes the erased “tweets” from Weiboscope on a daily basis, the project presents the archives in a grid format. Each tweet is deconstructed into a character-by-character display that occupies a flashing unit for a limited period. The duration of each ‘tweet’ is computed from the actual visible time on Weibo, and the visualwill transform from a busy canvas to an empty one with all the text is fully disappeared. The program will then fetch a new set of archives and the cycle will repeat endlessly. It takes an average of 4 hours per cycle to empty the screen. (see the project development here on Github)
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:: Acknowledgements ::
Fu King Wa, Hong Kong University, Weiboscope