As a follow-up to the speculative product assignment, we were tasked with creating a newspaper of the future, to fully flesh out the sociopolitical context of the worlds that we were imagining through the articles found on the front page of the newspaper. Opposite the front page is always a full page ad, giving us an opportunity to create an advertisement related to the product that we created. At first, I struggled with this assignment, realizing that the idea of a newspaper in the year 2075 was surely a conceit - in a world with bionic implants and devastating environmental damage from global warming, what place would there be for printed newspapers?
I decided to frame newspapers as the ultimate luxury good - only the extremely wealthy would have the leisure time and disposable income to afford printed newspapers. I wanted to develop the idea of having bionic eyes, though, so I created a backstory about how the extremely wealthy employ people in poverty as servants in their houses - accessible to people without bionic implants only through rear entrances with multiple security checks. It would be bad news, then, if someone from the servant class stumbled onto a copy of the newspaper, left lying around the mansion that they were cleaning, especially if it depicted the true dystopian state of the world.
I realized that the newspapers would have to be covered with false news stories, saying that the world was in order, and that the billionaire philanthropists that ruled the cities were responsible for the order in the world. The backpage advertisement was made by a firm called Securitas, a security company who looks after the world, so everyone else doesn't have to - projecting a sense of security over the non-bionic reader of the newspaper. Articles paint a picture of the United States as very strongly positioned in the world - as a Cold War-era superpower where its dominance is unquestioned. At the same time, there are a number of articles that evoke a sense of external threat - terrorists attacking the Keystone Pipeline, "Greater Russia" expanding westward over Europe - that would compel, somewhat heavy handedly - members of the impoverished parts of society to want to maintain the domestic status quo in order to maintain the country's strength for struggles abroad. Meanwhile, truths that couldn't be masked - such as the prevalence of acid rain in an environmentally ruined world or the rise in sea levels forcing the abandonment of the Hawaiian Islands - were reflected in the newspaper, in articles and in the forecast.
I rewrote the articles afterwards to fit the reality of the dystopian world - the real news that only people with bionic eyes could see. Their eyes would register the tiny QR codes found on the corner of each page and the information would automatically change to reflect what was really happening. Instead of terrorists plotting to destroy the pipeline, it had run dry, forcing government officials to demolish it. Separatist groups on Hawaii are the reason for the "nuclear tests" on the "deserted" islands; the US-Mexico border will soon feature a wall that the United States builds for Mexico in a desperate search for jobs for elements of its society that might otherwise foment revolution. Food is running out, and the US and Russia sign a non-aggression pact. As far as the advertisement goes, the Securitas ad turns out to be an ad for bionic eyes.
I created a movie in Adobe AfterEffects to simulate the newspaper's transformation. This was a bit of a challenge as I had never used AfterEffects before, but with the help of a few classmates, I was able to get the movie working. I intended for this to be used with a device such as Google Cardboard, and even mocked together a "hacked-together" looking version, that I was going to convince my instructor was a hacked object similar to the grappling hook that I created, allowing the "disabled" class to look through the newspaper's deception. The Google Cardboard that I made lacked lenses to bring the screen into focus; and the department's Cardboard somehow switched the position of the advertisement and the front page, I think due to the stereoscopic processing of the image. The video itself is really quick - a glitch effect to show the user that something was happening [and to add to the effect that the object making this possible was hacked together] and a few text animations and image animations to show the transformation.