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Holograms from Syria

When we use our phone to scroll through news feeds, breaking bulletins and shocking images can often begin to blend into the saturated backdrop of automated ads, online videos and ridiculous memes. As an online audience, we have become desensitised to images of war and disconnected from the atrocities that ensue.

One artist has set out to bridge that disconnect, “to make reality more real” and to invoke empathy for a conflict that is so far removed from our daily lives. Artist Asad J. Malik, who grew up in Pakistan but re-located to the US for college, has created an augmented reality art installation that uses the Microsoft HoloLens to transfer images from the war in Syria into safe and familiar places in the USA.

The installation projects 2D holograms of people caught up in the Syrian war, including a refugee mother and child, the drowned Syrian boy Alan Kurdi, as well as a soldier with a rifle slung over his shoulder.

Mailk wants to explore the disengagement that many people in the US feel from the horrors of the war in Syria. He believes that it has become just another atrocity to scroll past on a newsfeed, without it really resonating.

At the moment, the project is more of a conceptual one as it is only visible to those people with a HoloLens. However, as AR technology improves, Malik hopes to further explore the idea of “cultural augmentation”.

For his next installation, Malik wants to interview people from around the world using volumetric 3D software. This will allow him to capture the conversations and images of the person, and then place their holograms into different locations, far from home. As Malik has said, “it’s almost like Pokémon Go, but with real people”.

Visit the Holograms from Syria website to find out more.

About the author

Izzy Ashton, Assistant Editor of BITE, Creativebrief

Izzy is a writer/researcher for BITE, Creativebrief’s daily insight into global marketing trends and the cultural movements driving them. She keeps abreast of the latest communication, technology and consumer news, and is responsible for conducting interviews with key agency strategists and creatives to gain insight into the most innovative global campaigns.

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