Arts & Social Justice Showcase

December 5, 2023

Switchyards, Downtown Club


In Fall 2023, the Information Visualization course was part of the Arts and Social Justice Fellows program at Emory University. As part of the program, Professor Emily Wall and local Atlanta artist W.J. Lofton redesigned the curriculum for the semester to incorporate -- you guessed it -- arts and social justice. This page details some of the outcomes of the semester.

Undoing the Plot

A Data-Driven Exhibit on Mass Incarceration and Police Brutality

Undoing the Plot: A Data-Driven Exhibit on Mass Incarceration and Police Brutality is a multi-modal installation comprised of five constituent parts. The exhibit melds art and computation in a data-driven narrative on one of the most pressing social justice issues in our society.

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A data-driven poem and video projected at the showcase.
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A data physicalization of victims of police killing in Georgia in 2022.
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Each painted peg doll represents a victim.
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Each doll is painted according to the victim's race and has an attached NFC tag.
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Tapping a doll to an NFC reader such as a mobile phone leads to the obituary of the victim.
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A simulation of occlusion of evidence in the Tamir Rice case from 2014.
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The simulation shows the evolution of news headlines as hidden evidence came to light.
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The simulation is advanced to represent destroying or revealing evidence using two buttons.
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Students and attendees at the exhibit.
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Attendees interacting with a smart board that shows upcoming events held by local advocacy groups fighting against police brutality and mass incarceration.
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A poster at the entry of the exhibit.

Data-Driven Poetry

As a core assignment in the semester, students wrote an original poem, curated relevant data, and developed interactive visualizations to accompany the poem. A few examples are shared below, with permission from the students.

  1. Vis for the Lost City by Albert Terc
  2. Our Feelings & Future – Teenage Girls' Wellbeing and Outlook by Yingrong Chen
  3. What is She by Yijun Liu
  4. Have We Forgotten? by Macarah Morgan
  5. Smile by Kerry Zhu

These poems were showcased on Chromebooks set up for attendees to interact at the Arts & Social Exhibit on December 5. In addition, Kerry Zhu performed his poem, Smile, live at the exhibit.

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Poems showcased at the Arts & Social Justice Exhibit.
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Poems showcased at the Arts & Social Justice Exhibit.
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Kerry Zhu presenting his original poem, Smile.