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About The Show
Mining Hate is an improvised interactive performance built with audience generated content that seeks to create awareness of the practices used by anonymous hackers to target journalists and minorities in India to spread misinformation. The show builds on real events in a country which has fallen to 150 out of 180 on the World Press Freedom Index.
In 2019 and 2020, four female Indian journalists were targeted by sophisticated anonymous hackers. All three were scammed into believing that they were being offered jobs at Harvard University. The hackers were never caught and, most oddly, their motives remain a mystery, since they never asked nor received money. In July 2021, an open-source application named Sulli Deals appeared on GitHub. Again, in November 2022, a similar app named Bulli Bai appeared on the same platform. Both applications used images and names of Muslim professional women, many journalists critical of the central government, to announce an “auction” of the women with a price tag attached to the individual profiles. Men could bid to “buy” the women. The purpose of this application appeared to be nothing more than the humiliation of the women, since there was no monetary benefit to the anonymous perpetrators.
Our performance will be built on the history of these incidents. Improvised scenes demonstrating how anonymous hackers build, target and persuade their intended victims will use content generated by the audience during the performance. The responses of the journalists will also be presented as verbatim theatre by actors. Over the past 10 years multiple journalists have been murdered and imprisoned for questioning the government. Our goal is to focus on the voices of the journalists, and those affected by the attacks, and to present their experiences rather than focus on the roles the government played in silencing the journalists.
The performance has been commissioned by MediaFutures, an EU-funded initiative to encourage citizens to engage more meaningfully with high-quality journalism, science education and digital citizenship, and will make its premiere in June 2023 in Hamburg. In preparation for the performance, we also initiated the Propaganda Narratives Residency in New Delhi in April 2023 to bring together artists, technologists and dramatists to engage with the subject matter on a critical and creative level.
We hope to encourage critical thinking and dialogue surrounding the complex interactions between technology and society, as well as our responsibility towards fostering equitable, safe, and just digital futures.
An interactive performance built with audience-generated content about misinformation and hate speech in the digital age.
Mining Hate is part of the MediaFutures project.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s framework Horizon 2020 for research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 951962
Press & Media
About The Show
Illustrator, Theatre Practictioner
Alia is an illustrator, theatre practitioner and library worker currently based in New Delhi. Her interests lie in collaborative, community-centric and interdisciplinary arts practices.
Alia joined the project as a resident artist of the Propaganda Narratives residency.
Hasan is a mixed media artist who uses cutting-edge technologies, such as AI, Robotics, and 3D printing as his medium. A core principle of his work is to make the cutting-edge accessible. Through art installations at various national and international venues, he makes public interactions with cutting-edge technology delightful instead of overwhelming. He works with artists through fellowships, collaborations, and by building tools that help them augment their art practice by integrating technology as a medium. He believes in the constructive power of technology and has been teaching diverse kinds of people how to use it to strengthen their work for the last 12 years. However, he also thinks that equal attention should be paid to the challenges technology brings. He has started an initiative called "Responsible Today," which is building dialogue between educators, parents, technologists, entrepreneurs, and policymakers on the societal challenges of technology like addiction, polarization, and digital frauds. More information available at curiouswala.com
Hasan joined the project as a resident artist of the Propaganda Narratives residency and continues to collaborate as a creative technologist.
Denny George is an engineer whose work engages with socio-political issues using software and humor. Currently, as co-founder and product engineer at Tattle, he is building tools, datasets and media to understand and respond to inaccurate and harmful content.
Denny joined the project as a resident artist of the Propaganda Narratives residency and continues to collaborate as a creative technologist.
Gaurav Singh Nijjer
Gaurav Singh Nijjer is an Indian theatre-maker, creative technologist and arts researcher. He is one-half of the Indian collective Kaivalya Plays and freelances with artist collectives across India and Europe. His artistic practice spans interactive, improvised and hybrid performances that explore new ways of engaging audiences, in the theatre, at home and otherwise. He currently lives in Berlin, where he is the lead researcher for the project ‘Hier, Jetzt (Und Dann?)’ investigating hybrid performance formats and audience engagement methodologies as a Bundeskanzlerstipendiat (German Chancellor Fellow) with his host organization, Rimini Protokoll. His recent works include Mining Hate (2023), Climateprov (2023), The Amazing Flabby Breasted Virgin & Other Sordid Tales (2022) and Lifeline 99 99 (2021). He graduated with MA in Advanced Theatre Practice (Distinction) at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2021, receiving the prestigious Chevening Scholarship from the UK Government. More information available at www.gauravnijjer.com
Arjun Srinivas is a researcher and journalist currently pursuing his PhD at the Queensland University of Technology’s Digital Media Research Centre. He is also the recipient of an Australian Research Council-sponsored scholarship to study the impact of algorithms and automation on digital media and communication. He is based in Brisbane, Australia. In the past, he has worked as a data journalist with the Hindustan Times group, one of India’s leading media enterprises.
Varoon P. Anand
Varoon P. Anand is the Artistic Director of Kaivalya Plays, as well as an India correspondent for France 24 (Bogota bureau) , Radio France International and a Spanish professor for the Instituto Cervantes New Delhi. Previously, Varoon also worked as Principal Correspondent for India Today, the country’s most widely read newsmagazine. Varoon also serves as trustee of the Nursery Theatre (UK) Varoon received the Refunction Grant (2018) from the Goethe Institut New Delhi to create Unravel, an improvised play on the applications of theatre games to mental health, the Gender Bender Grant (2019) from Goethe Institut Bangalore to create Aguebao, a performance piece about the commodification of gender identities, the India Foundation for the Arts Research Grant (2021) to study performer safety in the arts. In 2019, Varoon’s adaptation of Tirso de Molina’s classical Spanish play Marta la piadosa became the first play from India to ever perform at the International Classical Theatre Festival in Almagro, Spain. He also authored the play Footage (2022), which fictionalizes the details of an infamous sexual assault case of an Indian journalist against her editor-in-chief.
We would like to acknowledge the support of Louise Enjalbert (Art-Tech Coordinator, MediaFutures), Julià A. Vicens Bennasar (Eurecat) and all the other artists, teams, partners and staff members of MediaFutures for their continued guidance, support and assistance in realizing this project.
Media & Gallery
Media & Gallery
Partners & Collaborators
Partners & Collaborators
About Kaivalya Plays
Kaivalya Plays is a performing arts and production company led by Varoon P. Anand as its Artistic Director and Gaurav Singh Nijjer as its General Manager. With its root in the cultural capital of India, New Delhi, the group has created innovative artistic experiences with a focus on community-building. Since 2018, Kaivalya Plays has built upon a foundation of applied improvisation to create original work focused on mental health and performer safety, as well as pioneering technological innovation in the performing arts. In 2018, Kaivalya Plays received the Refunction Grant from the Goethe Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan to create Unravel, an improvised performance that argued for the mental health benefits of theatre games. This further evolved into a year-long workshop programme titled HEADSPACE, accessible to anyone that continues until the present day. Alongside this work, we became interested in investigating and creating resources for performer safety and In 2020, Kaivalya Plays launched the Safety Research Study, a first-of-its-kind research project which was funded a year later by the India Foundation for the Arts (IFA). In the past year, they received the C3: Codes, Creativity & Community grants from the Goethe-Institut India and BeFantastic to develop two web platforms, namely the India Arts Funding Forum (www.artsfunding.in) which is an open source forum for Indian artists to discover funding opportunities, receive feedback on applications to build a transparent art funding ecosystem and the India Arts Education Forum (www.artseducation.in) which is an open-source, community-led platform that democratises access to arts education and training in India. For more information, visit www.kaivalyaplays.org
The MediaFutures, Data-driven innovation hub for the media value chain project is co-funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 framework, Big Data Innovation Hubs programme and started on 1st September 2020. MediaFutures is a transnational European data innovation hub that brings together startups, SMEs and artists in the media value chain to expand on standard models and comes up with unconventional ways for people to engage with quality journalism, science education and democratic processes. It aims to create products, services, digital artworks and experiences that will reshape the media value chain through innovative, inclusive and participatory applications of data and user-generated content.
Considering data as a common good and a public infrastructure, MediaFutures aims at breaking data silos and facilitating access to data. MediaFutures works on the assumption that a society that informs its decisions and policies with data is more likely to be healthy, productive and sustainable. The development of information and communication technologies in political and governance processes are more likely to be successful following a bottom-up approach, including citizens and diverse groups in its creation. As a result, MediaFutures encourages participation and inclusivity, including underrepresented audiences and communities affected by the digital divide.
MediaFutures is part of the S+T+ARTS ecosystem. S+T+ARTS is an initiative of the European Commission to foster alliances of science, technology, and the arts, that effectively implement a European approach to technological innovation centered on human needs and values.
In an age of polarisation and misinformation, MediaFutures is instrumental in helping Europe lead the way in establishing a new, inclusive brand of innovation, fueled by seamless access to data and multidisciplinary expertise. MediaFutures funds and supports products, services, artworks and experiences that transform for the better the ways people consume news and engage with facts, and the ways experts make decisions and contribute to society.
MediaFutures will support 51 startups or SMEs and 43 artists through a total of three Open Calls in the coming three years, distributing a total amount of €2.5M. It will support the selected applicants through a 6-month acceleration (startups & SMEs)/ residency (artists) programme including funding, mentoring and training.
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