Arwork #3: Intervene: Internet Hugs

by | Mar 14, 2016 | Artwork #3: Intervene

The game:

  1. Pick a major Subreddit
  2. Find someone who’s posting hateful things
  3. Wish them well


Album of Selected Excerpts

  • Most were ignored.
  • A few received 1-2 upvotes.
  • A few more received downvotes.
  • Some parent comments were deleted.

I got three responses from Original Posters so far – the first two were both from people whose original comments were heavily downvoted. They both told me about their day and asked me about mine. The third was a post buried down in the bottom of a thread and just said “Pretty well so far, thanks!”

In true reddit fashion, someone else responded for OP in one instance: “I think he’s just having a ball!”
You can view all of them (and the greater context for them / the posts / etc) from the user page of the account I set up for this project.

(If you click “context” you can see the parent comments in the given thread)
Artist’s statement:

This work was loosely inspired by the subtle intervention of Keith Haring’s subway murals: I wanted to bring some positivity to people’s lives without interacting with them face-to-face and without inconveniencing them in any way.

I also drew some inspiration from various movements that have cropped up on the internet from time to time: I’ve seen posts in the last 5-10 years that people have put up sharing sticky notes with positive messages left in random places, like the mirror in public restrooms. Some of these messages reminded people that they are strong or resilient or that they matter. I wanted random internet strangers to get some sense that they are cared about and that even if they’re just an anonymous collection of text postings, someone is paying attention to them and they’re not just a digital face in a sea of digital faces. Particularly in the cases of people saying hateful things about other people or groups of people, I wanted them to consider humanity and human connection, even if only for a quick second.

The minimalist set of instructions for the game were inspired by the scores found in Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit.