hate couture


"hate couture" is a series of high-fashion garments created through analysis of the usage and context of hate speech on the internet.

language is a key device used to ostracize and dehumanize groups of people based on criteria that are largely unchangeable: race, gender, sexuality, religion. in real life, the use of hate speech is a universal taboo. but how much attention do we really pay to it online, where everything we say is divorced from traditional social consequences?  "hate couture" is an attempt to examine the use of hateful language on the internet.

one week of hate speech against a single demographic was scraped from twitter, reddit, and youtube between march 25-31, 2013, and analyzed using algorithmic language processing and sentiment analysis to determine the severity of each instance. 


each comment was assigned a sentiment score, which was used to place it on a 5-shade spectrum of a single hue; the lighter the color, the more benign, educational, out of context, or re-appropriative the usage was, and the darker the color got, the closer the context is to the speech's original, disparaging and dehumanizing meaning.

a visualization of the entire week was then printed on a bolt of fabric, the length corresponding to the total volume of text collected.  in collaboration with a fashion designer from the group attacked, a single garment was then constructed from the entire length that was inspired by the impact of the language itself.  the voluminous, impractical, and cumbersome nature of the clothing is meant to reflect the sheer volume of the data found online; the anonymity of the internet, which allows people to use hate speech more freely than in real life; and the burden that this language places on those it is used against.

the project was built using python for data mining and natural language processing, and processing to generate the visuals.  the visuals are then printed on cotton silk.

special thanks to the fashion designers that i have worked with over the course of my project: timothy brucato ("faggot" garment, pictured, pink); avery reed ("cunt" garment, pictured, lavender); ari fulton ("nigger" garment, fabric pictured, grayscale); ruann ibrahim (muslim garment, fabric pictured, green).