Josh On

They Rule

Abbild der Macht

They Rule 2001_screenshot_map: the seven most powerful

They Rule 2001_screenshot_map: the seven most powerful


Reactions to and evaluation of the project:
The project received a really positive reaction. I am not sure that any major consequences came from the project. I think it may have been intriguing to see just how much corporate interlock there was, but that just leads to confirming suspicions, or to a dismissal of its significance. They Rule is not as didactic as many of the projects that I have done and that has meant that much of the appreciation has been from a technical point of view.

The political dimensions of They Rule play a similar role to a political cartoon. In that respect its relation to physical political activity is pretty low. As a visual representation of a physical reality it allows you to see connection that might not have otherwise been so apparent. As a digital representation of this physical reality it allows users to interact with a representation of that reality over time and reveal aspects of it piece by piece. As an online representation it allows people to launch off from the restricted dataset of the project and connect with exterior sources.

(Josh On)

Theorie / Forschung

Innovative aspect of the project and particular research interest:
The field of sociometry is nearly a hundred years old and I am sure there are plenty of examples before that. Jacob Moreno is the first person that I know of to map social relations as a series of connected nodes. As for the desire to show the relations of the ruling class, people struggling against ruling classes have always wished to expose their inner corruption. Karl Marx, provides the best basis for understanding the particular cruelties of our current oppressors. Both of these aspects of They Rule the mapping of human relations and the exposing of capitalist relations - have been done before. If there was any innovation it was to put these things together, and allow people to play with it for themselves. (Josh On)

Updates and follow-up projects:
Josh On about They Rule version 2004: I am really excited by it. I am taking away some functionality and expanding other parts. Amy Balkin and I are also discussing a similar project with a non-profit organization.