Arjun Srinivas and colleagues from Kaivalya Plays have received grant funding and support from MediaFutures to produce an interactive theatre performance highlighting the effects of hyper-partisanship and hate speech in India. The performance will particularly focus on the targeting and persecution of minority Muslim women online.
The project ‘Mining Hate’ will include improvised scenes built from media narratives and content generated by the audience to demonstrate how malicious online actors identify, target and harass victims of online scams and hate speech. Drawing on the Brechtian principle of Verfremdungseffekt, or the “distancing effect”, the live performance seeks to engage audience members in the emotional fallout of being victims.
Media Futures is a European funded consortium that supports artists to address challenges of disinformation and hate speech in the digital media ecosystem. The recent round of Artists for Mediagrants were awarded to artists with an innovative artwork concept and production process that critically and materially explores data and technology to question and comment on its impact on individuals and society.
For six months, Arjun and his colleagues will receive technical, legal and ethical support as well as data and computational resources, training and mentorship from partners of the consortium, including Leibniz University of Hannover, King’s College London, KU Leuven and Open Data Institute.
Arjun will be leading the research and data component of the project. During this time he will analyze data from the MediaCloud and Twitter among other sources, to capture media trends and to understand social media discourses on hyper-partisanship and misinformation in India.
“I’m really stoked to work on this project as it is a seamless integration of my research, theatre practice and my professional identity as a journalist” said Arjun.
“Through this project, we would like to shed light on the consequences of online vitriol and hate speech on the intended victims, while also uncovering the means used by malicious actors to target them.”
Mining Hate will be performed alongside other projects at the MediaFutures finalists demo day in May 2023.