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Technē Institute for Art and Emerging Technologies

Center for the Arts, SUNY at Buffalo, North Campus

November 8, 2016

8:00pm – midnight

Free and open to the public


The Purple State is a time specific event marking the American Presidential Elections during election night. Produced by The Technē Institute, it will take place at the Center for the Arts, UB North Campus on November 8, 2016 from 8:00 pm until midnight.

This event explores the impact of social media on elections, voter behaviors, and the polarization of perceptions and ideas. If elections are considered a minimal condition for democracy, they remain at the core of the democratic ritual. On the contrary, participation in social media, especially by younger generations, does not necessarily lead to an increased participation in the voting process or to the expression of constructed alternatives. By linking algorithm and affects, social media may be changing the « atmosphere of democracy » (Bruno Latour). If the Purple State describes swing States, the event itself probes the indeterminate condition of a democracy, when voters’ behaviors become algorithmically driven.

Full Press Release


The Purple State: Eli Commins

Great Walls (2016)

This participatory performance based on a workshop with students of the Cultural Production class from UB Arts Management Program.

Eli Commins is a writer and director of live performances. He creates and stages non-linear, transformable texts that are usually an exploration of digital culture. Over the past years, he has devised a series of performances based on social networks (Redoubt, Breaking / Iran, Miranda Warning), a textual map where the audience bends a narrative’s emotional states (Writing Spaces), immersive experiences, an opera, and, more recently, a serial sent via text-messages.


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