DeathTolls Experience

DeathTolls Experience

Organisation: alllesss (Iran)

Publication Date: 03/16/2017



With DeathTolls Experience, up-and-coming Iranian virtual reality artist Ali Eslami is seeking to resensitize the general public to the reality behind the abstract statistics on the hundreds of thousands of deaths in the Middle East. When news media bombard us with facts and figures every day, they gradually lose their emotional urgency. Eventually, our brains automatically filter out this dry “data reality,” even though it is crying out for our attention. The war in Syria is a good example. Eslami takes this psychological effect as the starting point for an investigation of how virtual reality can not only restore empathy, but also provide a context to news reports in which the numbers of victims can be counted but not comprehended. On the basis of a virtual journey through the history of European bloodbaths, an ocean filled with body bags containing recently drowned Syrian refugees, and casualties of the Syrian civil war, DeathTolls Experience immerses us in the meaning of these figures, opening up an emotional perspective on this suffering and terror.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

I did lots of research on human perception and cognitive science and was quite interested in exploring new pathways in the perception of Data. I found VR the greatest tool to mess around with this Idea and started prototyping the Idea I had about representing Data in VR which I call it ‘Data Experience’. Firstly I think Death Toll is a data-set that we approach 9/10 times when we hear the news ! the chance of hearing a count of Dead and wounded people in the news is quite high ! but the point is Do we have any Idea about these numbers that we encounter daily ?! I believe not … because Once something gets over-perceived (i.e. dead numbers) our mind basically ignores it and most likely it won’t find a way through our Consciousness. which means We are not aware of these Data that’s basically the consequence of our own actions on Earth! So What I tried to achieve with this project is enhancing the perception of these data. because I think It’s necessary to be aware of our surroundings and actions. It somehow shows a visual model of huge numbers , like 120,000 civilian death toll in Syria. that gives the user a vision to eventually have a more accurate Idea of the numbers he/she hears next time in the news. I have the passion for creating something that can lead to a better awareness of our surrounding and push away the interfaces that disconnect us from our own actions in this Reality. Here's the link to my Interview with Vice (about the project and it's Impact on people who tried it)

Technologies used for this project:

HTC Vive / Oculus Rift => High-end VR


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