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Ever-changing Flags: Trend-driven Symbols of Identity

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One of the symbols of a nation is its flag, which plays an important role in building and maintaining a sense of identity. Changes that occur in a country throughout history are often reflected on the design of its flag, whose elements bear meaning and are part of the country’s culture. In this paper, we explore the possibility of using a flag to also represent changes that occur in shorter timeframes. We present a system that applies visual transformations to the flag of a country, based on trending topics inferred from news sources. The impact of generated flags is assessed using a user-study, focused on perception and interpretation. The developed system has the potential to be exploited for multiple purposes – e.g. event visualization – and can be used to make the viewer question the limits of a nation’s identity.
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... In our opinion, these issues are ground for an important discussion on how the identity of a nation is represent by its flag and on the impact brought by changes in this national symbol. The system that we propose to demonstrate, initially presented in (Cunha et al., 2020), aims at confronting the viewer with questions of identity, by altering country flags based on current events (see Fig. 1). ...
... In this section, we provide a general overview of the system. As the system was thoroughly described in (Cunha et al., 2020), we will refrain from going into much detail. ...
... • Event Highlighting: despite living on what can be called a "global village", there are many events that often go unnoticed, even though they deserve our utmost attention -an example is given in (Cunha et al., 2020) regarding a huge oil spill that was not widely known. Our system as the potential of being exploited as a visualisation tool with the goal of highlighting such events. ...
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