#ICALLED [f-architecture]

#icalled is a deployable installation to scene new performances of political speech. By appropriating the newly gilded aesthetics of American governance, it empowers citizens (and those to whom citizenship or the privilege of the vote is denied) to voice resistance in three simulatenous fora: directly to members of government, on social media, and on the street. #icalled operates as an architecture of protest which occasions, amplifies, and re-circulates the will of the people against the whims of a CEO.

To that end, #icalled asks:

How can the public reclaim privately-held architectures of democracy? How do we resituate the white-house-cum-penthouse within the public domain and interest? And how might the power of aesthetics--in addition to the power of space + occupation--be appropriated to exert discourses overlooked by legislators and the executive?

We invite you, the constituent, the interlocutor, the ignored, one of 65,844,954[1], to disrupt this presidency by way of its ornate staging: occupy this scening of power to call out your representative.

A hashtagged video message to a member of government is the product and record of this occupation, another in an emerging genre of political selfies. #icalled exploits the minimal political cachet of the #ivoted selfie to examine how less glamorous and non-ritual activities of political participation inhabit the aesthetic lexicon of performative social media. What better use might the selfie be appointed to, if not the total and shareable resistance to an equally performed presidency?

[1] The final popular vote count for Hillary Clinton, as reported by CNN. 48.2% to his 46.1%

post-election + beyond #ivoted

Assuming the guise of a political ad (we're f-architecture, and we approve this message), #icalled is situated in an expanded field of partisan broadcast media which not only compels action but archives it. From the slew of #ivoted selfie stills posted on 11/9 to our anticipated series of #icalled vlogs, the ad indulges the performative mode of contemporary political participation. The selfie, the reward for an instance of participation, is leveraged here to incite more productive gestures. The contemporary political ad, no longer at home on television, is a similar indulgence in the appearance of political will, where campaigns refract issues as identities and opinions are subsumed by the appropriate hashtag: #imafarmer and #imwithher.

The #ivoted selfie, not complete without sticker, prematurely commemorated the 2016 presidential campaign. For voters across party lines, the hashtag consecrated as it catalogued (enthusiastic or antagonistic) participation in the historic election. But these cumulative appearances of civic duty shifted as the results of the election became less clear. The language of political expression within the context of performative media, otherwise unified by the non-partisan #ivoted, shifted from a present perfect tense of having voted to one of anticipatory anxiety, the visceral #ivomited and ultimately a resistant #notmypresident. This ad envisions action compelled rather than simply evidenced by the hashtag, with a prompt to #callout your representative. Via the selfie and its sites of appearance, we ask what other forms of action (other than liking, reposting, or trolling) can take place in the framework of social engagement? What verbiage, filters, incentives and methods for sharing will support the taggable resistance?

entertaining the new aesthetics of power

Rarely is protest afforded its own interior, beyond those it claims for itself (the sit in, the physical occupation of houses of government, the cumulative space forged by a crowd in the street). #icalled establishes a public and mobile inside (a scene, a set, a stage) for hosting political speech against powers historically formalized by architecture. Trump-the-brand, a thing invented by way of being emblazoned on buildings (gold T-R-U-M-Ps are applied to otherwise indistinct surfaces) is an easily appropriated legitimating strategy. A printed wallpaper photo backdrop and gilded props riff on the chintzy Versailles decoration of the Trump penthouse, with the addition of his own peachy visage. As this picture of wealth comes to plaster the white house, we reproduce it here to instantiate other spaces of power.

they called

Two official stagings of #icalled, the installation, have occurred prior to and coincident with the 2017 inauguration. Armed with a mad-lib script, a rolodex of phone numbers for sitting senators, and a sense of urgency, callers lobbied on behalf of a slew of issues including: access to healthcare, reproductive rights, environmental protection, and the provision of public housing--all under threat of revocation as indicated by POTUS45's campaign promises and his cabinet appointments.

See videos tagged #icalled on the @eff.arch instagram.