I’m Alive – a new exhibition about mobile technology for people on the run

By on September 27, 2016

Our phones comes with almost wherever we go. But for people on the run, they are literally lifesavers on the dangerous road to Europe. On October 12 opens the Technical Museum a new exhibition of mobile technology on life and death. With VR experiences, stories, objects and images we meet people on the run who managed to get here, and had to send the message to its close: “I’m alive!”

You wake up with a jolt. A missile has just struck down next to your home and fierce battles going on in the streets of your neighborhood. You know you immediately have to flee your homeland in order to survive. What do you take with you on your escape except passports and money? Which takes little space but contain a large part of your life? To help you connect with people who can help you further? Showing that you live and captures your experience? That translates your words into a foreign language and help you figure out how many Syrian pound it goes on a Swedish crown? Probably your mobile phone.
After a little more than half of 2016 has already over 3000 people lost their lives in the Mediterranean waves, but after all, survive the vast majority of the sea, against all odds. An important reason for not more drowned because the refugees themselves use digital mobile technology. With the help of used smartphones and networking in social media, they help each other to prevent incidents and coordinate the rescue work.

During winter and spring, the Museum of Technology interviewed some of the people who made it all the way to a safer life in Sweden, and with their help collecting objects and images. Meanwhile, journalists Annah Björk and Mattias Beijmo traveled to Lesbos and in Turkey, where they met with both relief and rescue workers, refugees and enthusiasts who do everything to encourage more people to cope with the dangerous journey. Thanks to a unique data set they have created an interactive visualization of stories in Google Maps.

Technical museum exhibition I’m Alive features stories from some of those who passed the dangerous journey from Syria to Sweden, and using interactive visualization, we follow the boats’ route between Turkey and Greece, the real dramatic events that have taken place and communication with aid organizations. We meet Dr. Ahmad Al Terkawi who himself fled from Syria and now serves as a communication center for refugees and aid workers, placed in his new home Oxelösund.
The exhibition is built around a refugee residence of the same model that UNHCR use in camps in example Greece. With three-dimensional VR technology, we also observe life in the Jordanian refugee camp Zaatari refugee camp in a movie created by multimedia artist Chris Milk and Gabo Arora. With 3D glasses and motion sensors we as visitors see us around the camp by while the 12-year-old schoolgirl Sidra show parts of their life with play, school and work in the camp. We also meet the Refugee Phones – a private initiative designed to provide refugees with mobile phones.
I’m Alive shown at the Museum of Technology 12 October 2016 to 30 April 2017. The exhibition has been made in cooperation with among others Sweden for the UNHCR, Better Shelter, Refugees Welcome Stockholm, Villa Victoria, Annah Björk and Mattias Beijmo.
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