Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.
– Marcel Proust
Farewells can be shattering, but returns are surely worse. Solid flesh can never live up to the bright shadow cast by its absence. Time and distance blur the edges; then suddenly the beloved has arrived, and its noon with its merciless light, and every spot and pore and wrinkle and bristle stands clear.
― Margaret Atwood
statelessness and identity is a short 360 documentary using photogrammetry that seeks to understand how displaced individuals navigate a world in which they possess overlapping ethnic, religious, or national identities while lacking a legal identity.
Last week I interviewed my friend Yamammy, who was a refugee from Sierra Leone who was resettled in the U.S. in 2001 during the civil war. We talked about the process of getting here, how her idea of home and family has shifted over the years, and what it was like adjusting to a new identity and culture. Ruta and I are scheduling time to re-interview Yamammy and record the audio for the documentary.
Some of the questions we plan to ask her during the interview: How long have you been here? Where do you come from? Did you move with your family? Tell me about the moment you found out that you would be coming to the U.S. When you first moved here how did you feel? To what degree did you connect with the culture here? Tell me about a time you felt connected. What makes you feel at home here? Tell me about a time you felt disconnected. Do you keep in contact with family or friends from home anymore? What was the most difficult part of the process? What do you wish you could do differently if you had to do it all again?
Initially we had a lot of different ideas for what we wanted the documentary to look like. The primary goal was that the documentary be something that was accessible in the browser, whether on FB or youtube. Initially we talked about patching together different 360 images from Google Street View with layered photogrammetric models. After we met with Ziv and Julia, however, they recommended we check out Shining360, a project that uses individual frames from The Shining to create a 3D video using photogrammetry.
I like how tactile the experience is. I was immediately struck by the aesthetic of the video – it’s fragmentary and unpolished, just like human memory. We immediately decided that we want to use this same method in order to re-create the landscapes Yamammy describes in her stories from various video sources.
This week, we’ve planned to meet with Rebecca Lieberman to review the process by which you generate frames from a video and then I’m going to teach Ruta how to use photogrammetry to generate a scene.