Experts have been wondering – probably since the dawn of time – how to get young people to vote. Noah Centineo, Peter Kavinsky’s extraordinary idiot in To all the boys that I’ve loved before, might have found an answer: don’t laugh at their entertainment. Use it.
In tandem with his business partner and friend Josh Heller, Centineo has launched an immersive Los Angeles pop-up experience delightfully titled “Fuck This I’m Voting,” a kind of all-terrain appeal to influencers in the area who can use the experience to deliver ~ cool ~ voting messages to their millions of subscribers. Centineo’s theory is simple: young people don’t absorb information in the same way their parents and grandparents do. Door-to-door canvassing and TV commercials will not work. They feel disenfranchised, confused by the system and overwhelmed with information. They want a simple slogan and a clear message (which helps explain the emphasis on voting goods this election season), and they want something that speaks to their soul. Art does that. So toss their favorite influencers – the people they pay most attention to – in a voting-themed art-house room and give them free rein to share the posts with their audiences? Boom: young people are engaged.
If “Fuck This I’m Voting” sounds simple, that’s because it is. And if you roll your eyes, you’re probably over 24. The so-called “experiments” targeted at Gen Z and Millennials have gained a reputation for insanity, but in Centineo’s case, he recognizes the value of putting good information with a strong social message behind a cute Instagram filter. In a very anxious election year, it is actually calming. “The goal is to help the cause,” he says. “But it’s also about being artistic and destigmatizing [voting] and make it something that can be fun, engaging, and less stressful. “
Centineo himself knows something about the stigma of voting. He didn’t vote in 2016, in large part because he felt the Electoral College was an unfair system – a belief he still holds today. But in the four years since President Donald Trump was elected, he has learned the importance of every name on the ballot and realized how important it is for citizens to have a say. on their elected officials. “I understand that we can vote on much more than just the presidency,” he said.
Two and a half years ago, he met several social justice activists, including Xander Schultz, co-founder of When We Band Together, who has become “a brother and a mentor.” These meetings led him to co-found Favored Nations, a non-profit organization that teams up with artists and influencers to spread social justice messages and raise funds for initiatives like an emergency relief fund. which provides PPE during the coronavirus pandemic. “Fuck This I’m Voting” is the latest FN initiative.
Centineo and Heller have partnered with NextGen America, Vote Save America and HeadCount to educate and register voters through the facility, which is notably non-partisan. Considering Centineo is a strong supporter of Black Lives Matter, it was an interesting decision. “Me and Josh have our own personal identities, values and ideals when it comes to voting, but the gallery doesn’t,” Centineo says. “The gallery is very simple and will not defame anyone.”
Heller added, “Based on the research we’ve done with people [who] have passed through our space and our community of members of favored nations, [we’ve found] we fear voting for the wrong president. Therefore, they completely reject the idea of voting on anything else. Our goal is to encourage and inspire people to vote. ”
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Media brand Tiktok Flighthouse is supporting the pop-up alongside Castle, an up-and-coming designer club, so influencers with many followers, such as Kylie Jenner, who recently visited the pop-up, are the only ones to be brought into space by invitation only during the pandemic. But anyone can visit the purple corridors and see the neon sign “Give a shit” virtually in VR, and they are encouraged to use the online tools, where they can design their own ballot and record a video explaining why they are voting this year.
Centineo does not claim to have created “the gold standard in voter registration.” But he is proud of the energy behind the installation, a project that meets the interests of young people rather than denigrating them. His plan is for “Fuck This I’m Voting” to launch a network of pop-ups that last long after the election. And when the pandemic is over for good, he can’t wait to open the doors for everyone.
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