Virtual Reality offers creators, such as Mohammed an opportunity to build worlds and share them with others. When Mohammed and his family fled Aleppo, they had to abandon his model city. Alex Pearson and Marshmallow Laser Feast have now created Mohammed’s world into a 360º virtual reality (VR) work.
This prototype piece is intended to introduce Mohammed’s work to audiences and to illustrate how his vision could encourage other children to emulate him and shape the future of Aleppo and other places impacted by war.
In March 2017, the project was awarded the Sheffield DocFest Alternate Realities Commission in association with FACT and Arts Council UK.
The fund allowed Zahra and Alex to return to Mohammed and document the creation of his most ambitious work to date -an interactive two meter squared model of the city and provided the basis for the Virtual Reality prototype to be exhibited alongside the model at Sheffield DocFest and then FACT.
The prototype is intended to introduce Mohammed’s work to festival attendees and to illustrate how his vision could encourage other children to emulate him and shape the future of Aleppo using whatever materials they have access to.
The next stage of the project will involve developing a more interactive Virtual Reality experience allowing children to more comprehensively explore and experience Mohammed’s World. It will be this version that we hope to take to refugee camps in Turkey, as the basis for workshops led by Mohamed.
These workshops will encourage Syrian refugee children to reconstruct their home cities as they remember them and then transform their inventions into a 3D image that they can share with friends and view with a Google Cardboard.
We will use these paper crafted models to build a WebVR ecosystem that Syrian children can continue contributing to. There they can continue to explore and interact with their friends in a safe haven built by them and for them, as a collective memorial that will exist digitally and be accessible anywhere they might be in the World.
With Aleppo now in ruins, their memories will form a crucial testimonial of the once mighty city as existed before the War.