#5 Anti-Surveillance Tool

Objective

Use the principles of steganography to encode a secret message that can be decoded through instructions.

Design Process

In Tactics and Poetics of Invisible Writing, Amy Suo Wu axplains that "collectively developed codes" serve to "strengthen community bonds while also excluding outsiders or shielding members from oppression" (Suo Wu, pg. 28). This is true of the 'lavendar linguistics' developed by LGBTQ communities around the word to communicate safely. I wanted to explore the codes that queer people use to communicate today in the United States; although the English queer language has fallen out of use due to decriminalization, coded terms are still used. For this project, I wanted to explore the history of queer languages and personals ads since the elimination of Craigslist personals, designing specifically for hometown quarantine experience many queer people find themselves in. The hometown queer experience overlaps with the quarantine experience more broadly because much of it happens online; for LGBTQ kids growing up pre-DOMA, the internet was often the safest way to explore and build queer worlds.

Reflection

I thought it was interesting to be thinking about a secret code that's only accessible to certain people. At first, I was using the keyPressed(q) function to reveal a message to someone who knew the correct key, but I thought it would be interesting to reveal the message only if someone moves their mouse to the blue bar in the corner of the screen. I also added a way to break the message; if someone moves their mouse too far down the page, blendMode is activated and the message is obscured.