Inform/Transform is a zine I created with my collaborator Mimi Onuoha. We wanted to create something to get the interest of people who don’t often think critically about the role that data or technology plays in their lives. Specifically, we noticed around the time of the 2016 US Election, a lot of hype and fear about mis/disinformation, and data – and we struggled to find something to recommend as a good place to start.
We developed Inform/Transform in response to this. We chose a zine format to invite contributions – it is handwritten and handdrawn, with illustrations by Jason Li, and has very little text. We developed nine strategies for how information can be used to control, transform and manipulate narratives – and the zine barely mentions the word ‘data’, as we noticed it can be offputting for newcomers to this topic.
Our goal with the zine is to counter some of the hype that we’ve been hearing. Using information to control and manipulate has happened throughout history – so with each of the nine strategies, we introduce a historical example from real life, and explain how the strategy applies.
We’ve translated the zine into French, German and Spanish, and localised some of the examples in each case. We’ve also held workshops and talks about the zine - encouraging people to come up with their own examples, and share them with us.
You can buy the zine at our Etsy store.