A future facing exhibit design about the implications of memory and truth

Created: May 13th, 2018

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Our understanding of history has always been predicated on the stories of others and has thus been curated over the years by human memory. However, because of the inherent malleability in our memories, we often find distortions, mis-beliefs in our memories that diverge from the truth. Moreover, since we have no ability to peek into “universal truth,” we begin to have collective false memories that we share as a society. This pathway motivated us to explore what might feed into false collective memory. In this current day, technology provides new layers of complexity to collective memory. We see it in the false news shared on social media, or through the interpretation of data collected. These things are shaping the way we remember current events and the way we will talk about them in the future. What path are we on when we are presented with fake news constantly? What path are we on where companies have the power to “curate the public library we conjure into existence every day, [where] they can and do delete it at a whim?” (Hill). What if people took more agency over history they remember? This exhibit explores when citizens began to rely less on the histories prescribed to us by the government, or corporations, and more on the verification of shared memories by the collective mass. Thus, we present to you the world of the Actualities Coalition. In our future world, a collective of citizen has risen to the task of verifying truth, bringing about a new era of fact in history. The Coalition has curated this exhibit to shed light on how we, as a society, have progressed from the false news of 2018 to the search of pure truth in 2045.

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Background Research

The first step of this project involved compiling a list of signals that we found in our current world that might portend the future in which our exhibit lives. Our signals range from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which suggests a future of mistrust and lack of privacy, to the #aeriereal campaign, which suggests a future where people demand the truth from online content and resist artificial changes. 

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Using these initial signals, we then constructed a future timeline that would take us from the current day news and signals to the year 2045. Some of the major events we predicted happening included the fall of Facebook and Google, the rise of a new transparency and truth conscious social media named Fairfate, and a series of government blunders that causes future society to take matters into its own hands.

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Exhibit Design

In order to transform our timeline into a cohesive exhibit, we decided to create three central "objects" that would be on display in our museum. The first of these objects was the Photo Alteration and Identification Detector (PAID) algorithm that we predicted would be developed in 2022. Using Vuforia, we were able to mock up a phone app that would replace any digitally altered photo with an unaltered version of the same photograph (thus revealing the truth). We displayed this in the exhibit by present a series of printing pictures that people could interact with using the phone we presented for the exhibit. 

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Our next artifact were Amazon "all recording" glasses that we 3D printed using the Hamerschlag SLA printers and finished by sanding and painting. Accompanying these glasses was an advertisement/set up video we created for the Amazon glasses release. 

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Our third and final object was the "Truth Ring," a DIY ring made in 2045 that would alert the user to the personal lies they told in their day to day as a part of the underground market for personal truth devices. We 3D printed the ring and accompanied it with a user manual and packaging to give it a more finished feel. 

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To then package the exhibit together, we created an exhibition wall upon which headline quotes from over the years were presented to give the viewers a sense of context in the world we created. We also created an exhibit statement and object labels to place each of the objects appropriately in the timeline. Moreover, to give a sense of "underground recruitment" we created stickers that we passed out during the exhibition, encouraging people to join the Actualities Coalition and start the quest for truth.

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Reflections

In general, we thought our exhibit was quite successful in illustrating our world in 2045. If we were to make improvements, we would have liked to rig up some fake technology for the Amazon glasses or the Truth Ring, which in their current state were simply finished 3D prints. We also would have liked to perhaps paint the exhibition statement onto our exhibit wall instead of attaching a poster onto the side pillar next to our exhibit. Moreover, we would have liked a little bit more time to sand and finish our custom pedestals. However, we think we had a reasonable level of fidelity in our exhibition to present our vision, so in general, we are quite happy with our results.

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48-528 Responsive Mobile Environments

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The theme for 2018 will be the exploration of human memory and how digital and connected technology can support, augment, enhance, effect and alter the ways in which we remember, recount and reflec...more


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A future facing exhibit design about the implications of memory and truth