Su Voz, Su Decisión

An Interactive Art Installation, Austin TX, Jan 2016 – May 2016

The work described here is a continuation of the project ‘Informarnos’ which is a mobile app that I designed to help day laborers in Texas make informed employment decisions. The installation was a part of the exhibition titled "Peripherals" that ran from Jan 2016 to May 2016 in Austin, TX.

‘Su Voz, Su Decisión’ is an interactive installation that incorporates physical data visualization, projection mapping, question cards, audio, and video to spark a conversation about the facts surrounding the exploitation of day laborers in the US and in Texas in particular. The aim of the project was to illustrate the data we collected on the problems of wage theft and worksite injury in Texas and to showcase the working of the app ‘Informarnos’ itself, thus explain my intentions behind designing it.

Illustrating wage theft and health violations

I worked with Workers Defense Project, a non-profit in Austin, to collect data from the Texas Workforce Commission, Department of Labor, and OSHA to create a database of about 60,000 employers and companies who had wage theft claims against them or had violated OSHA regulations. My goal was to show this data in the form of a creative physical visuali`zation without it becoming overwhelmingly hard to understand.

Using a CNC router, I fabricated a 5ft x 5ft map of Texas out of high density foam and used projection mapping techniques to project the data on to it. I fabricated all of Texas’ 254 counties on the map and used difference in depth to illustrate which counties had the most violations in total. Using projection mapping, I projected the data pertaining to 5 of the worst cities on the map.

Using a CNC router to fabricate the map of Texas
Photo from the exhibition Peripherals, April 2015, showing the Texas map with data projected on it using projection mapping.

In order to show the working of the app "Informarnos", I set up an Android phone as well as an iPhone in the gallery for viewers to interact with the beta version of the app. Next to the phones I placed cards that asked visitors the question “If you were a day laborer, would you work for this employer?" Each viewer could pick up a card that had information about a specific employer’s track record of labor violations and using that information respond to the question by pasting their answer on the wall under Yes or No.

Photo from the exhibition Peripherals, April 2015, showing the Informarnos mobile app along with the responses pasted on the wall by visitors.

OSHA Violations – Infographics and Videos

The third and final piece of work in the exhibition was a video and a set of infographics illustrating detailed information about labor violations in Texas. Three infographics, which illustrated the states with most worker fatalities in the US, industries with most worker fatalities in Texas, and companies with most wage violations in Texas, provided a starting point to focus viewers’ attention on the construction industry in Texas which accounts for the highest number of wage and OSHA violations.

Photos from the exhibition Peripherals, April 2015, showing the infographics and Violations in Texas video.