Afroroutes: Africa Elsewhere

VR experience "Beyond Slavery"

Sélim Harbi

Playlists: '35c3' videos starting here / audio / related events

Let's think "Beyond Slavery": Afroroutes is a one-of-a-kind VR experience conceived as a journey through 3 displaced African heritages, immersing users in Rituals and Ceremonies to experience that well-conserved memory form, but also to feel the power of Music as a strong anthropological tool. Connecting Afro-diasporic narratives: alterity and heritage transcendence within the digital era, Afroroutes is a trigger to open a crucial debate about diasporic identity.

Afroroutes is a VR experience taking you to some burning key destinations where African culture has been displaced through slavery and then, rooted again. From Salvador to Bahia to Gujarat through Tangier, there is a common history. Based on this VR Experience, the debate should be extended around "Beyond Slavery".

What happened with the millions of displaced African men and women? Where are their descendants living today? Did their original culture and language disappear? How did their heritage contribute to building their new countries? How did the assimilation or rejection process go? How has this memory subsisted, and how is it lived and celebrated today? But also, how to assimilate that chapter of history and transform it into a real global narrative - is there what we call a "diasporic identity"? And if it is the case, how to build this identity within a global, disrupted world? How can digital tools push this storytelling process? 

The medium "Virtual Reality" takes all its sense in this project, allowing an immersive and almost physical experience of those paths of slavery. This experience is triggered by music and sounds. Music is much more than a simple way of being together: it is the oral legacy of our intertwined culture. Music is such a powerful tool to explain and tackle the cultural dynamics of displaced heritage, but also as a most trustful narrative connector.


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