Images courtesy A Leader that Speaks for Us
Creators Alicia Iott, Anna Schulz, and Hizal Celik explain to The Creators Project that they initially developed the idea of A Leader that Speaks for Us in the aftermath of the 2016 United States Presidential election. Exhibited online, the simulation examines the people of the United States’ expectations of a democratically elected leader. The website acts as a mechanism to reflect on the discrepancy in the views of the president and the views of the electorate, especially on human rights and democracy. The project started when Iott became interested in broadcasting opinions of the public, especially ones that are not represented by America’s newly elected president.
“I was thinking that there are so many people whose opinions and values aren’t represented by their elected leader. People were chanting in the streets ‘not my president!’ What if this weren’t the case?” said Alicia Iott, “What if America did have a leader that represented America’s views. In an attempt to visualize true democracy, we took to the internet! We ended up using Twitter as the source of Trump’s new rhetoric—one that the common American had influence over.”
Exhibited online, the simulation develops a platform for conversation oriented around the tweets tagged with the hashtag “#NotMyPresident.” It provides the people an outlet for expression with the feedback of its visualization. Exhibited alongside its inspiration, A Leader that Speaks for Us implements the visualizations of the peoples’ opinions in real time. Schulz says that Twitter acts as a forum working in tangent to create a departure point for the people to make it their own.
“We are really interested in creating this project to be about the people,” Schulz says. “Twitter is such a widely used and highly accessible outlet for expression that it cultivates an environment to give individuals a voice capable of reaching beyond their immediate audience. We want to further project this voice and show what it could be.”
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