In the name of <3 explores the use of the heart symbol in the context of social media and the propagation of hate speech. In parallel, it questions the benefits of a rising discourse of love in nationalist propaganda from new and existent far-right movements, often hiding racist and sexist ideologies.
The project investigates what lies beneath the surface of the seemingly innocent heart symbol. The heart is often described as a universal symbol for love, yet its history suggests otherwise: it is closer to a corporate and political medium, embedded with contemporary imbalances of class, gender, and race. The benign and seemingly innocent heart symbol hides a much more complex story than its surface suggests.
For example, within the context of online forums and social media platforms the heart symbol is often used for the propagation of hate speech. Next to that, there is also a rising discourse of love within nationalist propaganda from both new and existing far-right movements and parties, often hiding racist and sexist ideologies under the guise of love. What does that mean for the meaning behind the symbol that represents love? What more in the name of love? Through a historical, technological, and political lens this project wishes to reveal the problematics surrounding the heart symbol. Delving into issues such as the unknown origins of the symbol, (digital) colonialism, data capitalization and censorship avoidance it tries to show the shallowness of a symbol that is supposed to be full of love.
The research is accompanied by an installation and a music video in which six womxn read a spoken-word piece on the sexualization of the female body and the idealization of a nation-state. The music video will be on show at Onomatopee as part of its October / DDW 2020 program. Next to the video installation, we will launch the In the name of <3 publication together with Charlie-Camille Thomas during Dutch Design Week.