Future Generations Democracy Talk

After the aggravating panel, I headed off to my second elected seminar group, ‘Designing  Democracy’. This was a much more interesting talk on the idea of democracy with in art and how it was be explored as both an individual study and as a mass peice of protest art.         The first speaker had done a study into ballot papers and how they are graphically designed. He found that the poor design of mass ballot papers is a ongoing issue, the poor design of the voting papers has proved to be a big issue in countries across the world, both in america and europe specifically. The most controversial example being that of the Algor v.s G.W.Bush in the american election campaign. A very poorly designed paper lead to many votes either being lost or miss counted, as the lay out of some state ballot papers made the boxes unclear or so poorly marked that people placed their mark in the wrong boxes, thinking they were voting for someone else. He pitched his idea on how to fix this, simply by adding a simple graphic design solution, to make sure all the ballot papers are set to one uniform design, that would be used in all elections nationally, or even internationally. This was a really interesting proposal for two reasons; I’d never even considered that ballot papers might not be uniform already and how that might effect a vote if they weren’t, also the fact that this was so simple and yet no one had ever done it before is a bit odd, the idea that no  one had so much as considered that it might be a good idea to make something so important to a specific design before seems so odd and narrow minded.
The second guy talked about about two projects that he’d done, one was simply an experimental piece that could have a pretty cool real life application, and the other was more of a protest piece open to the public. The first project involved a simple program designed to lock onto peoples phones when they came in range of the transmitter, it allowed the team to record not only peoples movements but also their basic activities on they’re phones. They placed a devise in a busy public area, with a clear explanation as to what it was, and recorded how many times that they picked up peoples phones as they passed, recording everyone individually. It was a cool social experiment, which also wised people up to how much their phone can do without them even being aware of it and how it can be manipulated. The second piece was a project based in a simple set of stickers that people could purchase, the stickers looked like signs and warnings that you can add to objects to show your dislike or comment on it. This was a really interesting project, in that it really effectively involved the public and gave them a voice.
But as usual when anyone tries to involve they’re audience, no one said anything, so i tried to get involved and talk a bit, but when no one else is interested or even listening, it gets pretty annoying and tedious. I liked the discussion portion at the end, but if they’re resounding silence is anything to go by, no one else was very enthused and this bothered me.

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