Epic Sock Puppet Theater

About the Project

Epic Sock Puppet Theater is an interactive media artwork featuring animatronic sock puppets that speak the words of social media posts from sock puppet accounts known to have engaged in disinformation campaigns. Sock puppets are imposter social media accounts created to infiltrate groups, surveil and provoke people, and spread disinformation. The installation consists of a puppet stage that is a combination of a classic Punch and Judy puppet show and a dystopian video game or penny arcade. Viewers are able to scroll through a dataset of actual social media posts made by sock puppets on a touch screen interface to select posts for the puppets to perform, or they can press arcade buttons to select a post at random. The puppets perform in front of a large screen displaying images and videos from the social media posts they reenact. This first version of the project features two sock puppets to represent left and right-wing samples from a dataset of Russian Internet Research Agency sock puppet accounts. This allows us to demonstrate how the tactics between the two targeted groups remained largely the same in spite of the difference in messaging. The project will also feature a machine learning classifier for users to check how similar their social media posts are to those made by sock puppet accounts and an online interface where participants can interact with video versions of the animatronic puppets.

The project was supported by the MediaFutures Artists for Media residency program focusing on online misinformation and disinformation and was the winner of the 2023 Artists for Media prize.

Exhibitions and Presentations

Funding support

  • Residency: MediaFutures Transnational Support Program, 2022-2023.


  • Prize: MediaFutures Best Artist(s) in the ‘Artists for Media’ track, 2023.


  • MediaFutures Demo Days, Design Zentrum Hamburg, Germany, June 8-9, 2023.


  • Artist Talk: “Art in the Age of Technocratic Control,” Artivism: The Art of Subverting Power, The 30th Conference of the Disruption Lab Network, Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin, Germany, June 23, 2023.
  • Artist Talk: “Artistic Research and Technocratic Consciousness,” PLASMA speaker series, SUNY Buffalo, May 8, 2023.
  • Artist Talk: Artists Now! Lecture series, Peck School of the Arts, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, April 19, 2023.

Publications / citations