Conspiracy theories.

Digital exhibit to raise awareness and explain conspiracy theories.

In the exhibition series Greed. Hate. Love. in the Haus der Geschichte Baden-Württemberg, various aspects of these emotions are presented and explained by means of stories. This exhibit is about the greed for knowledge, simple explanations, but also belonging and attention in the topic of conspiracy stories.

Team.

Lydia Bindel, Rosa Heinemann​, Alina Remlinger

Supervision.

Prof. Marc Guntow, Prof. Jens Döring, Benjamin Thomsen
digital exhibits
4th semester - 4 months

Tools.

Miro, Figma, Illustrator, Aftereffects

Research.

To find a topic for our exhibition unit, we researched various incidents in Baden Württemberg in which the greed aspect is present. We were especially interested by the heads behind the Querdenker movement, who earn money through the fear and insecurity of others.

In our discussions, however, we realized that it is difficult to make an exhibition about a phenomenon that has not yet been completed. Since exhibitions usually require a long period of time for planning and implementation, the "now reference" would be missing. So we decided to expand the topic further. In doing so, we encountered another fascinating phenomenon: the greed for knowledge and explanations, which drives people into conspiracy narratives.

Concept.

In 2003, the American political scientist Michael Barkun defined three criteria for conspiracy narratives. One of these principles describes that nothing is as it seems. Behind a seemingly harmless event, conspiracy narrators see a great conspiracy of an evil elite. We wanted to include this aspect in our exhibition. We wanted to find a way that not everything is obvious at first glance, but the visitor can gradually uncover information.

Another aspect that emerged during our research was chaos. Nur selten gibt es eine Instanz, die eine solche Theorie veröffentlicht und andere darüber unterrichtet. Verschwörungserzählungen werden oft auf verschiedenen Plattformen verbreitet und werden dabei oft unübersichtlich. In addition, people who believe in conspiracy narratives are often in a filter bubble, in that they only get their opinions and ideas repeated, rather than critically examine information from the outside. Conspiracy narrators also believe that everything is connected. Nothing happens by chance, every little thing is connected to something else. Through a red thread, we wanted to show these connections.

Especially through the Internet, the spread of fake news is an important topic. Conspiracy theories are frequently based on false information. The exhibit unit is intended to enable visitors to fade the facts in and out. This should enable them to understand how conspiracy narrators get into the situation. Through false facts and unsubstantiated claims, the narrative seems almost plausible, but if you take a step back and consider the true facts, the narrative is quickly invalidated.

We then transferred all these aspects into visual design principles.

Prototype.

When planning the dimensions of the prototype, we paid attention to the ergonomics of the body and made a sketch with the help of the Raumpiloten Grundlagen (published by Wüstenrot Stiftung). Subsequently, we built a stele as a 1:1 prototype, as well as a 3D rendering of the exhibit.

Projekt video conspiracy theories.

Learnings.

This project involved the development of a concept and the implementation of a prototype. We had to be careful not to invest too much resources in for the prototype irrelevant details. In addition, the visual processing of the content was extremely important to support our message. This may require many iterations.