Paranoia As a System: Drawing the Line Through the Q

Upon deciding what conspiaracy to research I thought what is an intertangled web of identity? The answer of course to me was obvious, the elusive Qanon. This secret figure is the force behind fantastic ideologies, theories, and beliefs with motives that are not entirely clear, posting on online chat forums about politics, supporting Donald trump. The Qanon following became cult-like, which was fascinating, that an anonymous figure could be followed by masses. My research started with the desire to directly examine the forums where Q posted and where his followers had their discourse. After realizing this sect of the internet has the protentional to be dangerous my research moved to the much safer sphere of knowledge, Wikipedia. There the dots began to connect; each blue name was another piece of red thread. After compiling the key suspects to be Q, my research continued with viewing Cullen Hoback’s Q: Into the Storm, a documentary series that shared my question; Who is Q? Hoback’s series provides insight into the interworking of the forums Q uses to post, following the timeline of Q’s presence, and examines the bizarre interpersonal relations behind the administration of the forums.

After completing my research, it became clear that the Q identity had faces behind it with a direct relationship with Jim and Ron Watkins, the father-son duo who own and administrate 8-chan (now known as 8-kun). The most recent and arguably the most influential Q is Ron. With my answer in hand, I set off to map the mess of the Q identity. Because there are so many players, influences, and followers, I created a system of symbols, colors, and lines to depict the relationships between each person. Originally the diagram took the form of a pyramid, at the top was Q and the subsequent layers the key players of the Q identity with off shoots like footnotes. The complex nature of the Q narrative was not easily contained within a structure, the story was more map-like; so the structure of the diagram became structure less.

Close up of Drawing the Line Through the Q

Within the final diagram hierarchy is shown not by position but by shape, size has no real significance. Colors denote category, to juxtapose against the rather intense, dark subject, I chose a primary based color scheme which later evolved to include pastels; I wanted the diagram to be aesthetically removed from the subject. The lines connecting each shape take different form and color, each symbolizing the type of connection; along the lines are symbols to specify the relationship or interaction.

At the end the diagram became a colorful map-like mess, just like the story of Q and Qanon.

Author: Claire Milgram