As the digital sphere becomes increasingly intertwined with the physical, basic human rights have become vulnerable on a whole new frontier. Jigsaw is a unit within Google that is using technology to identify, understand and confront developing digital threats to make people safer. The Current is their digital publication that explores a single topic in depth each release, with the goal of demystifying complex problems. Their most recent issue explores how violent white supremacists leverage the internet and what the journey out of extremism entails.
This poster was made to represent the release of the issue, and invite people to explore Jigsaw’s research on the subject.
As with any project, a number of sketches and alternatives were pursued, but this one seemed to resonate most with team members involved. Through our discovery process we learned about the radicalization funnel: a purposeful(and purposefully obscured) process designed to normalize white supremacist ideologies, while simultaneously converting people from the fringes to membership. The poster starts there, creating this swirling vortex, perhaps a cavern or river, that pulls the viewer down a deep abyss.
We found the use of black and white very dramatic. It’s like a fight between light and darkness, or even a confusion of light and darkness, almost as if your sense of place and self become warped and disoriented the further you travel. Positive/negative spatial relationships contribute to this, creating these warping and twisting forms the deeper down the hole you go. This approach was extremely malleable too — literal concepts like firearms, hands and people are tethered to more enigmatic themes like violence, predator/prey relationships, and ego-death. They all swirl together down this messy rabbit hole of online-radicalization.
I think given the seriousness of the subject matter, you’ll understand that no one was popping champagne and screaming “We did it!”
To render something with conceptual and visual potency, that also treats the subject matter with the gravity it deserved was crucial. We were all pleased to accomplish that, and get as many eyes on the research as possible.
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