PNCA's Make+Think+Code Launches the Disinformation Project

July 30, 2019

Disinformation Project at PNCA's Make+Think+Code


July 31, 2019

Contact: Lisa Radon,

PNCA's Make+Think+Code launches the Disinformation Project

Tuesday, July 31, 2019 – Portland, OR – Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) is proud to present the launch of the Disinformation Project by Make+Think+Code, PNCA's creative technology lab. In a world of rapidly-accelerating technological transformation, the viral spread of disinformation through social networks is fast becoming one of the urgent complex challenges of our time. As a speaker at the recent TEDx Portland 2019, Make+Think+Code’s Executive Director and PNCA faculty member, Nandini Ranganathan issued a challenge to create what she has called a Bletchley Park for the 21st Century to launch a War on Disinformation.

“We need imaginative, clever, absurd, and unexpected ideas and strategies to address this. And we need all of you - your diversity of expertise, experiences, and perspectives; your impossible ideas, tactics, and strategies to identify, categorize, reveal, subvert, challenge, and counter networks of disinformation,” says Ranganathan.

The Disinformation Project is gathering journalists, technologists, data scientists, cryptographers, artists, designers, librarians, social scientists, poets, psychologists, students, educators, researchers, lawyers, strategists, gamers, mathematicians, biologists, physicists, computer scientists, judges, epidemiologists, activists, and puzzle enthusiasts, to work in collaboration to generate imaginative, clever, absurd, and unexpected ideas and strategies to address one of the urgent complex challenges of our time, the viral spread of disinformation through social networks.

See Ranganathan’s talk here: (TEDx Portland 2019 (live stream)

Ranganathan envisions that Disinformation Project participants will identify, design, and prototype strategies (technology, creative, policy, culture, and otherwise) that reveal, tag, subvert, confound and resist disinformation. And they will experiment with actions and interventions that reveal hidden aspects, categories, weaknesses and glitches in the tactics and networks of disinformation.

The project will focus on three significant areas most impacted by disinformation (regionally and globally): Politics and elections, health and environment, and the fomenting of bigotry and violence. Participants will work together to track and identify key examples, events, and contexts (anti-vaxxers, health, elections and referenda, climate change, Rohingya massacre, anti-immigrant rhetoric, etc.); create models of the effective spread of disinformation, reveal causes and critical nodes; and build a constantly evolving archive of research and tactics (from this project and others).

“We want crazy ideas and experiments - anything even really small can be a catalyst and inspire a breakthrough and have an amazing impact. We will create a messy primordial soup of tactics and allow a solution to emerge,” says Ranganathan. “It’s going to take some time, but this is urgent! We absolutely must win this war on disinformation soon before we completely lose our democracy and our sense of community. And in these inspiring conversations we have together, we’re going to learn amazing and unexpected things from each other, and create something transformative.”

August 6, 2019

Disinformation Project Launch
Pacific Northwest College of Art

Session 1: 12:30pm - 4:30pm
Focus on strategies to identify, reveal, gather disinformation. Strategize policy and process change, awareness and education, imaginative campaigns, actions, and interventions.

Session 2: 4:30pm - 8:30pm
Focus on strategies to subvert, confound, and resist disinformation: technological, creative, cultural tactics Experiment with actions and interventions that reveal weaknesses and glitches in networks of disinformation.

Sign up today to participate in the Disinformation Project.