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Gone Gitmo

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Gome Gitmo is a docu-game  by Nonny de la  Peña and Peggy Weil designed for Second Life. This is a simulation of Guantanamo Bay where the player/user enters as a prisoner and discovers what it is like to loose his/er own civil rights. The reconstruction includes journalistic video material that the team has found – note that it is forbidden to film inside the prison!

De la Peña did a presentation at Goldsmiths in June 2009 where she explained that 3D simulations of space can be a very effective way to portray realities that are closed to the media.  De la Peña is currently exploring how non-fiction storytelling and journalism can be produced using first person immersive experiences in virtual environments.

On her website she presents Gone Gitmo in the following way:

“Virtual Guantanamo Bay prison is funded by the MacArthur Foundation, prototyped at BAVC and constructed inside Second Life. The installation brings users through a virtual detention inside the prison camp as an exploration into the loss of habeas corpus rights. Documentary footage from Unconstitutional is embedded to create spatial narrative.”

note: the project has been in development for some years now but since it is constantly changing I am filing it in the archive under the year “2010”…

Find out more:

Watch a trailer of Gone Gitmo on YouTube

More about Nonny de la Pena on her website

Read Gone Gitmo’s blog and find links to articles about the project

Go to Second Life and try it for yourself! Follow this SLurl

My comments:

What I have seen of Gone Gitmo clearly opens a new window to new media documentaries… JFK Reloaded had already introduce the possibility of immersive factual gaming as part of the documentary sphere… but I would say that Gone Gitmo is without doubt a piece of immersive journalism. From here a lot of things can happen… and I suppose this is just the beginning of a whole new “genre” of docu-games…

My only problem is that personally I am not a gamer. Avatars do not do it for me and I have no patience to browse 3D worlds… so I suppose I am the wrong target.

Also, docu-games in general open the vast debate about the difference between simulation and mediation of reality…not to mention the problem of the first person explorer in a real-time narrative…

I suppose that if 3D wordls could become a space of debate, where avatars discuss what they are experiencing, maybe docu-games would reach a new dimension. More than a simulation space they would become a space of debate and argumentation. What is more engaging and “real” than a good real-time discussion?

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 5th, 2010


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