A journey through the scars of the coronavirus in virtual reality

2020 changed the world as we knew it. COVID-19 has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and jobs, brought down the education system and destroyed entire sectors. Furthermore, the deaths of people like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have further exposed the devastation caused by racism and classism. Now that life has changed so much, we are forced to rethink how we interact with others.

In this article we review the work of 13 photographers from The Everyday Projects, a global collective that strives to end misperceptions by documenting their countries of origin. This time, they recover scenes that they had already photographed. By comparing the images of the past and the present, we remember that way of life that existed before and we face the daunting uncertainty that haunts us.

In addition to the 13 series of photos that collect the before and after, you can explore independent augmented reality experiences in five of the places where these photographers have worked. Immersive technology such as virtual reality has been chosen for its ability to virtually transport us to places that we cannot physically visit. In the midst of the pandemic, this idea becomes even more relevant due to the imposition of travel restrictions, the security measures that continue to limit visits from friends and family and the impossibility of moving around the world. Augmented reality brings even more depth by incorporating sounds and textures into this very important project.

In the five virtual reality experiences listed below, you can travel to Nairobi (Kenya), Kabul (Afghanistan), Atlanta (United States), Quito (Ecuador) and Wuhan (China). Our intention is that, by placing these images in your own space and walking through them, you can relive the feeling of being in an art exhibition.

Click on the “Start RA” button that you will find after your appointments to transport yourself to a 3D gallery and hit the “Unmute” button to listen to the stories of these five pairs of photos from around the world.

Yoriyas Yassine Alaoui | Casablanca (Morocco)

Three men and a bank in Casablanca, captured at two very different moments. Close physical contact is a deeply ingrained element in Moroccan culture. Top: June 15, 2016 | Bottom: August 1, 2020

Danielle Villasana | Istanbul, Turkey)

Many stalls have gone from selling sunglasses to masks in Istanbul’s Fatih Market, where wearing a mask in public is mandatory. Markets are an essential part of the life of the country, and each neighborhood has its own. They are usually crowded, but since the pandemic broke out, they have been emptied compared to how they used to be. Top: July 31, 2019 | Bottom: July 29, 2020

Brian Otieno | Nairobi (Kenya)

The riverbanks where children used to play and that run along the Motoine River in Kibera, a Nairobi neighborhood, have been heavily polluted. Residents often dig up the soil from the riverbank and use it to build houses around it. Top: November 9, 2017 | Bottom: July 29, 2020

One day I met a group of children who were playing outside and having a great time. They knew nothing about politics or elections. It was a very authentic moment and different from what I had been photographing those days.BRIAN OTIENO

Sheila Pree Bright  | Atlanta (United States)

The Confederate monument that in the city receives the nickname of “Lost Cause” (lost cause) in Decatour Square (Atlanta) was removed in June 2020 after years of protests. A hologram image of George Floyd, who was killed at the hands of Minneapolis police in May 2020, temporarily replaced the space previously occupied by the monument. Floyd’s murder was the spark that ignited the waves of protests internationally. Top: September 9, 2017 | Bottom: July 29, 2020

I can only imagine the significance that liberation from this painful legacy of violence in America must have for the black community.SHEILA PREE BRIGHT

André Coelho | Rio de janeiro Brazil)

Thousands of people flock to Ipanema Beach (Rio de Janeiro). Access was banned in March 2020 due to the pandemic and remains in effect with some exceptions. Despite this, thousands of people continue to go to the city’s beaches every day. Top: October 26, 2008 | Bottom: July 23, 2020

Lavinia Parliaments Rome Italy)

According to the Italian Minister of Heritage and Cultural Activities, in 2019 more than 55 million tourists visited museums and archaeological sites in Rome, such as the Roman Forum, which appears here. Now you need a reservation to access. Top: May 29, 2015 | Bottom: July 31, 2020

Jodi Hilton  | Sofia (Bulgaria)

“We will starve before we die of coronavirus,” explains Yulian Metodiev, leader of a Roma community. Fakulteta, the largest Roma settlement in Sofia, was quarantined in April 2020 when two dozen people tested positive. Those whose homes were scheduled to be demolished got a little reprieve during the quarantine. However, more homes were destroyed in July and some families were left homeless. Top: April 20, 2018 | Bottom: July 29, 2020

Fethi Sahraoui | Muaskar (Argelia)

Muaskar’s Emir Abdelkader Square, where protesters once chanted slogans against former Algerian President Abdelaziz Boutflika, now has to be disinfected. Top: March 8, 2019 | Bottom: July 24, 2020

Yolanda Escobar Jiménez | Quito, Ecuador)

“El Tingo” is one of the most popular pool complexes in Quito. Hundreds of tourists flock here every weekend, on vacations and holidays. However, the space was closed in mid-March and there is no scheduled date for its reopening. Top: May 2, 2015 | Bottom: July 31, 2020

Without people, there is no life in these spaces.YOLANDA ESCOBAR JIMÉNEZ

Xiaojie Ouyang | Wuhan (China)

Vendors and meat producers work in a local market in Wuhan, China. At peak times, more than 100,000 migrant workers lived in the town. Around 65% decided not to return after the outbreak of COVID-19. Market sales have been seriously affected. Top: March 22, 2019 | Bottom: July 31, 2020

What I would like people to remember from these difficult times is the courage of the people of Wuhan.XIAOJIE OUYANG

Nilofar Niekpor | Kabul (Afghanistan)

A classroom in Kabul’s Dasht-e-Barchi settlement. Schools in Afghanistan have been closed for nearly five months to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The closure of schools has had a very considerable economic impact for teachers, and students are behind with classes. There is no established online educational system to replace the face-to-face learning offered in schools. Top: June 12, 2016 | Bottom: July 29, 2020

In the place where the laughter of the students used to resonate, silence now reigns.NILOFAR NIEKPOR

Nana Kofi Acquah  | Accra and Cape Coast (Ghana)

Traditionally, the tribal chiefs of Ghana used to have a court that, among other things, shielded their superior from the sun with a parasol. Here, a chief of the Ga tribe visits the Chale Wote Street Art Festival in Accra in 2015. Below, chief Nana Munko Eku VIII of the Fante tribe attends a wedding in Cape Coast in 2020, where both he like his court wears a mask. Bottom: August 23, 2015 | Bottom: August 8, 2020

Ritesh Uttamchandani | Bombay (India)

People on the rocks next to the Haji Ali Dargah Mosque in Bombay. Built on an islet in 1431 to house the Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari shroud, this religious center typically welcomes more than 100,000 visitors a week. However, due to the construction of the coastal road around the mosque, which has not yet been completed, a large part of the bedrock surrounding the mosque is submerged and will likely sink further. Top: February 9, 2017 | Bottom: July 29, 2020


HuffPost: Ivylise Simones, Creative Director; Christy Havrane, director of photography; Damon Scheleur, photo editor

RYOT-produced WebAR Experiences: Laura Hertzfeld, Director, XR Partner Program; Guenever Goik, Head of CG; Patrick Love, producer; Erik Lohr, sound director; Matt Valerio, project manager; Prabuddha Paul, Head of CG; Ricky Baba, creative director; SJ Johnson, Head of Creative Development

Everyday Projects: Peter DiCampo, co-founder; Elie Gardner, Community Team, Special Projects; Wacera Njagi, Everyday Africa coordinator

Source: Huffington Post Spain Athena2 by www.huffingtonpost.es.

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