Images enter the mapping from specific Instagram hashtags
Images enter the mapping from specific Instagram hashtags

In the digital world, a whirlwind of images bombards us every fraction of a second and everything can dissipate through the network just as quickly. With the purpose of discussing the graphic memory of the main sociopolitical events in Brazil since the inauguration of President Jair Bolsonaro, graphic designer Didiana Prata launches Dissenting Calendar, carried out by mapping the aesthetics of images in the Instagram database.

O project shows the archeology of visual narratives of Brazilian graphic memory. “The idea is to be able to observe and archive these new aesthetics that come from the network”, says Didiana, who shows the partial results of the doctoral research in the postgraduate course in Design at FAU/USP, under the guidance of the professor. Dr. Giselle Beiguelman and developed during her residency at Inova USP Artificial Intelligence Center. These dissident images, in the designer's opinion, bring new vocabulary that also concerns the aesthetic manifestation of anyone. “This is interesting insofar as we work with a greater sampling of images and access to other narratives such as visual language, divergence and diversity of production, not only of artist-designers but also of citizens, engaged people and with different activisms”.

O Calendar is in process and the concern is to archive this production chronologically. “The first stage is to classify based on the temporality in which they were published, creating a chronological visual narrative, different from what occurs in the fragmented visualization of these images on the pages of the applications. Hence, looking at them and categorizing them within aesthetic filters, categories that I am proposing”. To store millions of images and their captions, Didiana deepens her research with the Inova USP team, using artificial intelligence and machine learning to train robots to classify images according to aesthetic criteria. “The image classifiers that exist on the market are all commercial or surveillance biased and I am not interested in this profile, nor in this type of labeling”.

This new aspect is the use of artificial intelligence linked to aesthetics and artistic production and, for the designer, this is the point. “Not everything is in Calendar, because we are finalizing the image classification part and improving the process”. Didiana will fine-tune the images and curate, as she says, with her robot friends in the relevant aesthetic categories. Due to the risk of falling into oblivion, given the flow of overproduction and placement on the networks to which they belong, the images are cataloged and archived, based on the analysis of some hashtags. The site captures, indexes and publishes three of the most liked images daily with hashtags #designativista, #desenhospelademocracia, #mariellepresente, #coleraalegria. Marielle, according to Didiana, is an important hashtag due to the number of images and the various activisms contained not only of a political nature, but also for the issue of black people in Brazil, racism and gender issues. “The idea is that people can consult the Calendar for other issues such as journalism, sociology, politics, art." It is considered that the hashtags established as a search filter are representative of dissent and collective manifestations in the face of the current moment in our history.

Images enter the mapping from specific Instagram hashtags
Images enter the mapping from specific Instagram hashtags

In what ways do the images posted on Instagram and those of the Dissenting Calendar? “Actually on Instagram you are subject to viewing the images of the people you follow, you can even follow a hashtag, but the images that will appear are the ones that the algorithm has selected within your group of followers”. Didiana remembers what happened with this research on her Instagram. “He was talking about an aesthetic in my bubble and that doesn't interest me. I expanded the qualitative data and discovered anonymous artists all over Brazil. That's the richness of the work, it's that you expand the vocabulary with a bigger sample that without artificial intelligence I wouldn't be able to do.”

At Calendar you can see the work of professionals and ordinary citizens, with intervention and memes. “Memes are incredible, they mark the immediacy of the visual culture of the networks, made from images from the mainstream media, usually journalistic images that speak of everyday life”. Didiana does not consider these images the most suitable to be investigated, since they are already discussed by communication researchers. She is interested in digital collages and illustrations, typography and vernacular illustrations. There is a rescue of things from popular culture, calligraphy, cordel illustrations that are brought to the contemporary world.

These images, according to the designer, present new paradigms for the study of communication design in the post-internet era. By algorithmic scanning, the Calendar tracks the main themes related to the images of the day and provides the user with the corresponding thematic filters.

The second phase of the project will present a curation of images, selected from six pre-established aesthetic categories: factual; digital illustration; hand illustration; digital typography; vernacular typography e appropriation. This stage is scheduled to air in June this year. Now it's wait.

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