In a first for the social media giant, Instagram has released a set of interactive election stickers in time for the Federal Election. The app collaborated with award-winning artist Kuku Yalanji Tony Albert to capture the necessity of voting and significance of widespread participation.
The limited edition four-pack features a democracy sausage, ‘Very Important Voter’, ‘We Voted’ and ‘My Vote Counts’ messages. When tapped, the stickers redirect to the Australian Election Commission website for voting details and information.
“I’m thrilled to collaborate with Instagram to create something unique for Australians,” Albert wrote in a statement for Instagram.
“The Federal Election is a time for all Australians to come together and have their voices heard, and these stickers represent an opportunity to share the experience together.”
Albert has shone over the last decade with his art practice, which uses combinations of text, painting, drawing, three-dimensional objects and video. His work spotlights themes of racial misrepresentation and injustice, particularly towards Indigenous peoples.
Instagram reached out to Albert at the beginning of the year to translate the success of election stickers overseas, down under.
He acknowledges Instagram’s ability to connect people and his own use of the app to showcase his work as motivations to sign on. Albert agreed to the project to share an “important message about the power of the individual vote, while being fun and engaging for everyone to use.”
With over one million Aussies making Instagram Stories daily, the social media platform wanted to encourage voters to express themselves and support democratic processes.
“Around the world, we see voters using Instagram to engage with major civic moments and elections,” said Instagram’s Head of Politics and Government, John Tass-Parker.
“Here in Australia, we’re celebrating the election through a customised product […] to bring a uniquely Aussie flavour.”
The contemporary artist described the difficulty in reducing his designs to its final number. From an original 10 concepts, the ones that made the cut were chosen for their appeal to various demographics – from humorous and satirical, to what he considers potent and important.
“There were so many different ideas and options to look at considering the broad diversity of the Australian public, but also my own desire to make sure everyone has a voice,” he told NITV. “We wanted the final four to offer something to everyone.”
Each sticker has its own merit and intention. For example, Albert said the democracy sausage is a light-hearted conversation starter on whether onions should be placed on below or above the snag itself. The ‘My Vote Counts’ sticker, on the other hand, is a universal message shared between new and generational members of the community alike.
“I love the ‘We Voted’ sticker because of the nuances with the red, black and yellow — which are there to celebrate the fact that everyone now has the right to vote and that it wasn’t too long ago that Aboriginal people were given citizenship.”
However, if he had to pick an absolute favourite, Albert said would choose ‘Very Important Voter’ for its subtle empowerment.
“[It] reflects the idea of positivity in the face of adversity, which is a common theme in my work. On a community level, voting is one option where we have a voice and a right to have a say — and even though it’s a single voice it’s still really important.”
Instagram has had previous success with election products in the United States, India, Brazil and Indonesia. Their main competitor, Snapchat, will offer special election filters, ‘bitmoji’, stickers and lenses during the national elections.
HOW TO USE:
● Open the camera and the sticker tray — you'll find the election stickers in the tray, represented by the democracy sausage.
● Once you’ve added it to your photo, tap on the sticker to change it to the other designs.
● You can position it and resize it on your photo as needed, then simply share to Your Story or directly to your friends.
● Your post will be added to the ‘Aus Votes’ channel, but only viewable to the people who follow you.
● After posting, tap on the sticker to reveal the link to the Australian Election Commission, to find more information regarding the 2019 Federal Election.
Instagram’s democracy stickers will be available throughout Election Day on Saturday 18 May. For information on voting, visit the AEC site.
Tony Albert features in NITV's Colour Theory documentary series about art and Indigeneity. Catch up on SBS on Demand.