Shining Light on the Network Dynamics of Racial Covenants A Physicalization of University of Minnesota's Mapping prejudice Project
On the left, see a snapshot of my final designs. The early stages of shape building and controls included plenty of frustration. But by the end of the design process tasks that had taken me an embarrassing number of attempts I could do at a decent pace.
After reading the source .csv into a Python program and reformatting it as a queryable layered-dictionary, I began by counting each item in the data set relative to the 3 categories I had identified and an "Other" category. I added each covenant instance to a list respective of its category, but for "Other" I also wrote the whole list to its own text file. What followed was an iterative process of identifying phrasing categories, adding them to the phrase counting code, running the script, and reanalyzing the "Other" file. Through this process I identified 8 phrasing networks.
After establishing the 9 network categories, I audited my assumptions. I wrote pseudo-random samplings of 10 covenant instances from each category to their own text file. This allowed me to check for any phrasing networks that may have been combined by previous delineations. Through this process, I identified 2 more racial phrasing networks. Examining the semantic patterns in these lists inspired the designs for the sides and backs of the model house.
Having analyzed the data and produced satisfying network categories, I had to learn GIS software to manipulate each lot representation on the shape file Mapping Prejudice provided into 1 of 11 color classifications. After heavy googling, I produced a simple .csv in Python consisting solely the Doc_ID, (which was consistent between the covenants table and the map file,) and its category designation.
Once I input the file to my QGIS project as a data-only layer, I left joined the category column (as integers) to the attribute data table and used the arithmetic classification capabilities of the software to create a grey scale rendering of the map best suited for raster engraving. For this online presentation, I changed the color gradient to blue and added a dark mapping layer to give identifying context.
Motivated by these reflections on the capabilities and deficiencies of theory education, my house presents a challenge to its witnesses. From within the home, an Adafruit Circuit Playground will emit light every second. It visualizes the 24,120 covenants at random, corresponding each network category's frequency to a distinct color pattern; each flash is the repercussion of that covenant into today. The only way to stop the stream of covenants is by shining enough light onto the source of the flashes itself. A flashlight is provided, but do you have what it takes to stop the light?