The conception of VIEWPOINTS started as a project centred at unearthing the truth behind the politics in the South China Sea (SCS). Currently, six countries vie for hegemony over the lucrative trade that can be derived from the oil and fish rich waters, each spinning a more convincing tale about their inherited rights. China however, takes the limelight in the research. She had demarcated close to 90% of the South China Sea as its territory, and all the countries who staked a claim in the area were driven off using military force. The SCS was a boiling pot that was threatening to erupt into war with weaker countries retaliating occasionally. If we were to look at the news that was reported from the different news agencies however, the discrepancies were alarming. Every country were telling the same story differently, each staking claims while making accusations, sometimes, even when there are evidence against them. Who is telling the truth? Research then began into the philosophical subject of truth and the examination of all the sides of the stories given by the different countries, the result was inconclusive. That there was no absolute truth in the matter. In fact, the most accurate version of truth that I arrived at for the SCS would be an amalgamation of ALL the different stands of the stakeholders. However, due to propaganda and the lack of critical thinking, there is no space for an ambiguous truth such as this. Almost everyone believes a version that was spun by its local press because it is easier to. These include the people who drives the economy and pay for their country’s capabilities to engage in such warfare. This was when I realize we didn’t need ambiguous truths, we needed to take our stand because there is no one absolute truth to believe in. we need to be able to formulate our own point of views in matters such as these so that we don’t get played by the media and governments.
That was why the project became about Viewpoints. Who knows for certain that the ideas they have are their own? Sometimes, we can be so swayed by something that sounds so probable that we just blindly adopt as our own. Take the September 11 incident for instance. The press coverage was understandably about the victims of the incident, and there were too many unnecessary casualties, but there was no space for empathy for the enemy. Why did it happen in the first place? Why would such an elaborated plan be put into action to cause so much hurt and death for no reason? These questions were later on answered when research was initiated, but people’s perceptions are already set in stone. While the victims did not deserve it, the media had already demonised the enemy to the point it has become hard to even fathom empathy for the other side of the story. Ask a friend around you about a controversial incident and see the views they take. How many of us quote the news blindly without applying ourselves? This was the final push that led to the creation of VIEWPOINTS.
The targeted audience for this project would be tertiary students. These students have graduated from the force-fed educational system where they gain an approximate knowledge in general subjects with only absolute answers. Now, they are at that level of education where knowledge from the masters of old (Arts, Engineering, Computers, Science, etc) are passed on to them, and they sieve through what they can use and build on it. There are no more absolutes at this stage, only old systems that had worked best. The critical eye to question things you are told becomes ever more important at this point, keeping in mind these people would be the drivers of tomorrow’s economy. Therefore, an exercise to equip or remind them to always think twice about content they access.
An exercise centered around creating awareness about current affairs and formulating an opinion or stand that belongs to the user.
An introductory video about the status quo of the subject, with self explanatory instructions on the activity. http://youtu.be/Y9dxnz3RtWU Packaging to bridge the gap between the product and the video in terms of aesthetic and message.
The first thing to come about was the idea of creating an activity for people to think about what they are reading these days. Inspired from Stefan Sagmeister’s book cover design and also Isaac Montoya’s Phantom, I wanted to use a code to cram different messages onto one plane to symbolize the different opinions that circles a piece of information. This code can then be unveiled one at a time using the colour subtraction. These filters takes the shape of a lens to emulate the discovery process; as if looking through a magnifying glass would reveal more that what you see. Once the idea for how it will be done was conceptualized, the focus went back to the video because the ultimate communicator would be the motion graphics. It serves as a self explanatory media that would set the tone and stage for the activity. In fact to some extent, the video alone might sway people to re think their ways of thinking about information. The next thing to be finalized was the logo. Though it might remind one of the famous CBS Logo designed by Paul Rand, it was actually inspired by the Chinese deity Er Lang Sheng, who has a third eye known as the all revealing eye. The entire exercise hinges on the idea of revealing the different sides of a scenario or news, therefore this element is most appropriate. The last thing to come was the packaging. At this point, all the elements on the product was black white and grey. I initially wanted to retain the sanctity of truth and use the objective lack of colors. However as the project changed, it became about opinions and getting people to learn to look at different sides of arguments. The colours came in to “code” the themes so that users can relate certain themes better. For example, Facebook is Blue and terrorism is red and so on. these colours also match the colours used in the video to create a cohesive language that is followed through the entire project. the packaging then used the emblems on the back of the cards of each theme to generate a pattern of eyes to simulate the different opinions on the subject matters that people could or might have.