Vermont College of Fine Arts
College Hall Gallery
36 College St., Montpelier, VT 05602

Tues, October 9th, 10 am–8:30 pm
Wed, October 10th, 10 am–1pm & 5-9 pm
Thurs, October 11th, 12–9 pm
Fri, October 12th, 12–9 pm
Sat, October 13th, 10am-7pm

(INTER-)FERENCE

TRANSPARENCY

Past/Present/Future

Heather Snyder Quinn

Transparency is a Trilogy of the Past, Present, and Future. Each trilogy volume consists of 2 parts: a personal story from my own life, and several researched “myths” that showcase methods of creative obfuscation. These narratives display themes of transparency, privacy, the value of secrets, family, and design’s impact on those themes. I showcase stories that show the breadth and depth of human ingenuity for primal need and desire, often against much larger powers, and that utilize all the human senses. My lens is specifically in more innovative techniques, and often those that are created by non-experts. The outsider or non-expert serves two purposes. First, it is meant to make the idea of code accessible and uncomplicated. Second, it embraces the idea that innovation and unsettling systems—can be done by anyone. We all have power.

Throughout history, humans have always necessitated methods for hiding their secrets and maintaining their privacy. Their methods of concealment, however, have evolved with time, culture and available technologies. Despite more advanced technologies and even the utmost diligence, no secret is ever totally safe—unless kept in the depths of one’s mind. However, a speculated (near) future indicates that not even our thoughts are secure: we are on the cusp of the invasion of the privacy of our minds and the implantation and altering of our memories.

In the past, we obfuscated physically with materials—primarily using cryptography and steganography—through redaction, the wearing of masks, and the hiding of physical objects. In the present, we obfuscate digitally in the virtual space with false personas, filters, altered data, and encrypted messaging. In the future, I use design fiction to speculate that we will be internally surveilled—to the very root of our DNA. As a result, we will obfuscate our bodies—our physical, and emotional states.

Analysis of our methods of secrecy within the silos of past, present, and future, allows for a deeper inquiry into time and place. In the present day, we struggle to understand technologies power in the fabric of our lives. If we look ahead, say 100-200 years, what might we observe and take away? What are the ethical considerations of these designed products and experiences? What if we consider the continual growth of corporate power, as well as the rapid acceleration of new technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, 3D fabrication, the blockchain, and IoT? If we imagine the collapse of democracy, and the takeover of the country by Google, as absurd as it may seem—how would we navigate our lives? Moreover, history often repeats itself, and so we may learn a great deal from observation of the past—to look back without staring.

My body of work consists of a publication (book) that utilizes augmented reality, an experimental film called Echolocation—A Mirror of Our Time, and an exhibit of future speculated objects on the VCFA campus that exists in augmented reality (and can be viewed on a smartphone using the app HP Reveal).

Vermont College of Fine Arts
College Hall Gallery
36 College St., Montpelier, VT 05602

Tuesday, October 9th, 10am–8:30pm
Wednesday, October 10th, 10am–1pm & 5-9pm
Thursday, October 11th, 12–9pm
Friday, October 12th, 12–9pm
Saturday, October 13th, 10am-7pm