I’m really quite manipulative

I thoroughly enjoyed the reading presentations from last weeks class. In general, I’m a bigger fan of watching documentaries than I am of doing actual readings, but watching these pieces under a much more content-critical lens and then being able to discuss in detail what we felt was going on really started me thinking about my ecology project as a propaganda piece. Obviously, when we chose our ecologies at the beginning of the year we did so because we felt a certain way about a place, be it curiosity, compassion, pity, etcetera. But after this week I began to understand just how much power has really been placed into our hands when we have total control over the media we use from our ecology, and the affective filter we put over it. I talked about this a little in my last blog post, which by the way please don’t read it was awful word vomit and I’m embarrassed it’s on the internet. I don’t even know what I was trying to say and to be honest it makes me look like kind of a pretentious asshole.


remembering blog post #2

Back to propaganda. The total control we have over the affect that our ecology project produces means we can make visitors to our website feel however we want them to. As both a control freak and a horrible person, this appeals to me greatly. Think about Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea and Food Inc. When watching documentaries such as these, you’ll often hear people telling you to “take it with a grain of salt.” These films were created with very specific agendas to make you feel a very certain way about a very certain topic. Food Inc. literally punches you in the mouth with heavy-handed ~metaphorical~ CGI and animal torture-porn to turn you into a vegan, and Salton Sea (in my opinion) trivializes a serious socioeconomic and ecological disaster into a quirky narration (by John Waters, really??) about a zany community trying to keep their weird neighborhood alive.


Divine when asked to impersonate the Hudson River

As for my plans, I chose the Hudson River because I care deeply about the health of our aquatic ecosystems. The river has had a long, gross history plagued by pollution and abuse, and I feel very passionately that the city should be doing more to take care of it. When I go out to my ecology, I purposefully seek out trash, sewage warnings, abuses of the space, and other things along those lines because I want people to feel like we aren’t doing enough to protect this space. Truth be told, when you walk along the river “pollution” isn’t the first word to come to mind, but when visiting my website it’s going to be; I’ve made sure of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not admitting that the river is actually totally fine and there’s nothing wrong with it, just that I am choosing to record very certain elements I come across to generate a very specific affect.

So there you have it, my ecology is a propagandistic piece on environmental protection, made specifically to enact a change in the way people think about how we treat the Hudson River. And now I ask you, if I am using my creative freedom to use my ecology site for propagandistic purposes, to literally manipulate the way people think, is that okay? And is it really a bad thing?

I don’t know, but when you scroll through my finished website this December make sure to take it with a grain of salt.



~ by Erin Hill on October 25, 2016.

4 Responses to “I’m really quite manipulative”

  1. This one wins my award for “title swag” because it’s a kind of title that I don’t think I have seen yet, and it made me want to read the rest of the blog post. To answer you question about manipulation… I think it’s all good, as long as you use your manipulation powers for good not evil. – Lydia

  2. Best in self-affirmation; if I was unsure of your angle before, the reminder of the agitprop angle has taken care of that.

  3. Most interestingly boldly addressed and resonance! I really like the way of you talking about manipulation and propaganda and your addressing your ecology with those terms. The perspective of your ideas are really interesting for keeping me with you

  4. most fascinating- I thought it was interesting that you formed a new perspective of your ecology. Through the readings and films, you acquired a new understanding of the power you have in creating media depicting your ecology. Specifically, your thoughts on your ecology as a propaganda piece. I’m excited to see the outcome of your final website!

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