Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts
Art and Visual Culture
Calling attention to the issue of nitrate pollution in Iowa’s waterways as a result of current agricultural practices, my goal was to initiate a dialogue on social media prompted by guerrilla tactics. The issue of nitrate pollution has been steadily increasing over the past decade as a result of Iowa’s lack of environmental mandates to maintain and monitor nitrate leeching from the soil into the watersheds. In 2015, this issue initiated a lawsuit by the Des Moines Water Works against three northern farming counties, citing runoff into ditches that feed into the Raccoon River as source points of the pollution.
I wanted to be disruptive in a constructive manner to see if Iowan’s would respond on social media. There are common assumptions that people will post things to the internet that they would not have the courage to say out loud in person.
The hashtag #NotIowaNice was utilized as a brand and for social media context. Utilizing a campaign with video imaging, stickers, stenciled graffiti, a branded social media platform on twitter and a website carried this hashtag. Video projections were broadcast in selected areas of the downtown Des Moines metro and in Ames, Iowa. Stickers and spray-chalk graffiti messaging with “Nitrate Pollution #NotIowaNice” was placed along pedestrian walkways near the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers.
The goal was to see if the imagery and messaging moved the audience to utilize or mention #NotIowaNice in social media. While several people filmed the video projections, there were ultimately no responses on social media utilizing the assigned hashtag.
Heather V. Sumners-Purdy
Sumners-Purdy, Heather V., "#NotIowaNice: Guerrilla design tactics and addressing nitrate pollution" (2017). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 15432.