Deconstruction Visualized. Riots. Media Overkill.
MDes Contextual Design, Design Academy Eindhoven, 2011
This book project takes the shape of a physical collection of all British online news reports on the UK Riots from 2010 until May 2011. All articles in the collection are categorized and organised by tone of voice, using most frequently used words (such as 'riot', 'thug', 'police' or 'gangster') as indicators to the general tone of the opinions expressed.
In critical theory, Derridean deconstruction has become a much overlaboured method of textual intervention. Yet, as my projects aims to illustrate, the concept can be productively extended to inform graphical interventions into text. It can serve to visualize the processes of signification through which certain words acquire stable meanings in a given discoursive formation. As a reflection on the media coverage on the 2011 UK riots, this project analyses the language used in the UK's largest newspapers in order to visualise the general tone of individual articles, that is, their emotive dimensions and embeddedness in competing socio-political motivations, and thus enable the reader/spectator to identify specific terms as recurring in certain patterns. As a result of this visual commentary, a coloured chain of signifiers emerges and confronts us with the excess of meaning that each of the highlighted terms aquires in the specific context of their usage. While meaning is never fixed, this grouping of terms serves to stabilize it in the pursuit of interpretative authority.
The presented piece is a book, structured in three parts: an Index which indicates the location and contextual tone of analysed terms within the book; a compendium of articles published in British media on 9 August 2011 which, again, features a the visualization of tone; and a short lexicon of the analysed terms. The colour coding is applied to the text manually with colour pencils, emphasizing the subjectivity of tone.