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Technology
and politics

A series of thoughts

Jiang Zeming, former president of China from 1989 to 2002, died the 30th of November 2022. From that day until his state funeral a week later, many popular applications turned to black and white to mourn him. For not only one day but a full week, users would see products that are usually colourful and attractive to be suddenly presented in grey. This would be a perfect example of how politics shape technology’s impact on society, or how ideology regulates consumerism in a market economy with Chinese characteristics. It is also interesting to think about colour on how it conveys meaning. In this context, vibrancy and saturation symbolise life, activity, variety and consumerism while a scale of grey means sobriety by reminding the death of a political leader, as if the State wanted to restrain its citizens in their impulses. By imposing a change in the slightest detail of everyday life, the State shows its presence and strength. Colours and their momentary disappearance are only a kind reminder of such presence.

Posted: December 25th, 2022

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