Empathy is a very multi-layered feeling that everyone experience in varying degrees. You might be able to sympathize with others but always from a distance. Over the years, advancements in technology have been able to allow people to understand others much better. For instance, through social media people have been empowered to raise their voices as a result of which the world can better understand their situation.
Asad J Malik a Pakistani born designer and artist is using augmented reality technology to raise awareness and bring the world closer together
For those of you not familiar with the guy, Asad previously used Microsoft’s Hololens technology to show the world, how the Syrian war affects us all. What Asad essentially did was that he inserted real-life images from the Syrian war into the people’s personal space. Like for example, you could see a victim of terrorism side by side with people enjoying a vacation.
This time around he’s creating a full-fledged documentary that explores misconceptions around Muslim identity in the West
Asad & Assad is the first interactive Augmented Reality documentary created by Asad J. Malik and his team in 1RIC which has become a startup. The project was inspired by Asad’s own inevitable connection with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for their near-identical names. The documentary portrays a wide spectrum of socio-political experiences of people perceived as Muslim in the US, interviewed in a way that is reminiscent of airport interrogations and secondary screenings people like Asad have been through. The name Asad & Assad is a play on the difference in pronunciation of the same in both the East and West.
This project ignited a conversation about how we consume images of war. Asad & Assad began when Sundance Film Festival and Kaleidoscope took notice and encouraged the AR work Asad was doing. Asad & Assad has come a long way since, and now Asad and his team have secured a crucial partnership with DepthKit, which provides them with the volumetric capture technology they’re using to bring the holograms to life.
The AR technology makes it possible for the audience to deeply “empathize” with every character
“The project is designed in a way that each viewer has a completely unique experience of the narrative, depending on how they navigate through the stories- so maybe your interests lead you to spend more time with certain holograms,” he said. ” The documentary is about the perceived Muslim identity in the west and not about Islam as an ideology ” Asad added. He referenced incidents wherein even communities like Sikhs and Hispanics that otherwise have very little to do with Islam, fell victim to attacks by conservatives groups in the West post 9/11. The participants in the documentary come from very diverse backgrounds. On one hand, you have a guy from Karachi living in a posh locality that would often be categorized as “burger” on the other you have an Ismaili girl hailing from Chitral.
Asad has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the upcoming documentary project
The team is already close to reaching their goal of raising $20,000, having already gathered $17,846. We hope that Asad and his team are successful in their upcoming project and hopefully leave a positive impact on society.
Cover image via: Asad J Malik