This project started as a challenge to design for ‘Immersive Journalism’, thus finding a new way to present news to people. The chosen news topic was the use of digital surveillance technologies in China. Through constant monitoring, profiles of every Chinese citizen are being created. Monitoring techniques are even being employed as a way to detain and remove the minority Uyghur people from Chinese society. In the Netherlands, there is a general lack of awareness about the potential risks of surveillance technologies – a fact that was laid bare during the debate about the corona app. Many people did not understand what it would be able to do. The goal of this project is therefore to create awareness of the capabilities of digital surveillance technologies.
The design is a phone application in which the user creates a character of themselves in order ‘to join a new society’, but on the point of joining the society, the user is told that they cannot join because the digital surveillance system has labelled their character as potentially dangerous. The application thus shows a possible scenario of the implementation of digital surveillance technologies in society.
To arrive at this design, existing literature (academic papers) was studied to create design requirements. These included studying papers on designing for immersivity, identification with a character, and aspects relating to the front-end design of the application. The insights gained from these papers have been combined, in several iterations, with the vision of the designer to come to a design that is both supported by existing knowledge and communicates the aspired message of the designer.
Within the theme Silent Power, this project speculates on or questions the implementation of digital surveillance technologies and the possible consequences for society. ParadizeD shows this scenario to a user both to create awareness on the capabilities of these emerging technologies, but also to open the debate on whether it would be desirable to have these technologies implemented in their society.