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The VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program Blog

VCFA’s Heather Snyder Quinn (and her students!) at Typeforce 11

January 16, 2020

Join us on opening night Feb 28th. We will be giving away “free” currency from the alternate world of Afterlife, ID badges from the hidden land of Föhn, and barcode tattoos with secret messages from the cloud nation of Delta!



As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, we live in a place of great uncertainty about our collective futures. With an important election year before us in the United States, we wish to use this space to offer alternate ways of considering the idea of a “nation.” From peaceful utopias to unsettling technocratic societies, The Fictional Nations of Föhn, Delta, and Afterlife will present three speculative nations that exist across time—a revisionist past, an alternate present, and an imagined future.

Using design fiction to press the issue of what it means to live in a post-truth world, we will present the exhibit as “real” or “factual.” Our space will showcase a sterile, curated museum display with precious artifacts from the nations themselves—fabric flags hung from above, badges, uniforms, piles of currency, as well as a bitcoin screen and an augmented reality flag that plays a national anthem when scanned with a smartphone.

The books, which take the form of a public brand manifesto, historical guidebook, and style guide, offer more detailed versions of the nations themselves and will be exhibited on three small podiums for guests to read. These documentations serve as an archive of attributes and artifacts—including the history, psychology, language, and branding of each nation. Printed vinyl descriptions will be placed on the 10×10 wall next to the corresponding artifacts, and some of the artifacts will be offered as takeaways.

Our exhibit will display an array of visions from peaceful and serene, to deeply unsettling—and from plausible to impossible. We hope to convey a taste of the many possibilities our future world(s) can hold.

Hard cover book mock up isolated on soft gray background. 3D illustrating.

Year Established: First noted as a Roman settlement in 53 BCE
In early 2050, a mountaineer vanished into the depths of the Alps. After being presumed dead, he turned up in a small tavern at the tip of southern Germany in perfect health. His own accounts describe how months earlier, he had been lost and near-death when he stumbled upon the beautiful mountainside nation: Föhn. He was graciously taken in by its citizens and nursed back to health. He stayed for a time to learn about Föhn and its people—only to discover its existence had been mysteriously wiped from the map between World Wars. His only keepsake from the city—this book, detailing the nation’s history, government, language, culture, currency, transit system, and more.

Despite the wealth of information provided by the text, it did little to help researchers and other hikers locate the lost city, which seemed to slip back into the bright whites and blues of its mountainous sanctum…”
(created by Will Wright)

Year Established: 3001 PT (Post Terra)
Birthed in post-Earth times, Delta is the cloud nation that supports neo-human population. After fleeing uninhabitable conditions on Earth, the pioneer Deltonians had escaped to the clouds on the last remaining airline–Delta. As the years passed, these humans evolved to living in a cloud-system, at first settling in the atmosphere comfortably. However, pure, and prone to corruption with such little governed cloud storage, the country fell to fascist rulers, who claimed the nation’s first hundred years. Deltonians sacrificed much under these hard times, and the nation’s unity appeared in decline.

This historical guide book and academic text recount the cultural stories and data leading from Delta’s first civil war and to its Utopian Cloud Revolution.
(created by Claire Rosas)

Year Established: The nation of Afterlife exists in non-linear time
The world of Afterlife exists in an alternate dimension and adheres to strict Christian law. What might seem like a paradise to the living is actually a dull and monotonous life in the Holy Land. At first, one can get used to having little responsibility and living comfortably, but after a few hundred years of just existing, a majority of those in the Afterlife want to opt-out. They see no point in living forever; there are no problems to solve. The chaos and temporary nature of life on Earth are what makes living so exciting. There is now no excitement.

Unfortunately, no one can die in The Holy Land, where it is a sin to commit suicide. The residents live eternally depressed, with no freedom to evolve and change. They are forever chained to the stagnant dogma of Afterlife.
(created by Miguel Perez)

Exhibit monograph will feature work by the following students/alumni: Rachel Black, Emma Carney, Elizabeth Duck, Alyssa Evanowsky, Moya Fagan, Ciarra Garcez, Kelli Heflin, Ollie Kahveci, Yan Li, Wren Lively, Madeline Mathie, Edgar Melero, Caroline Menin Silva, Miguel Perez, Michael Putnam, Keni Roman, Claire Rosas, Samantha Ruffalo, Caroline Schlegel, Jacob Spilla, Kabren Stempa, Lydea Swit, Laura Szymkowiak, Sara Vanderbaan, Will Wright, and Christina Wollney