The goal of the project "War Children" is to tell stories of survivors of the second world war by means of augmented reality.
We want to make memories persistent, accessible and comprehensible to users that do not yet have access to these memories, e.g. digital natives. The application of immersive technologies provides us with new ways to tell stories about the past in an empathic way by augmenting the narration with audio-visual assets.
In order to provide an immersive reference to the stories, the user can visually place a contemporary witness in his own environment using the tablet/ smartphone application. As a result, the user can observe the respective witness sitting in front of him and beginning to describe their wartime experiences as a child. During the narration, the user's real environment is augmented by AR content that visually augments and explains their narration.
The project was carried out as part of an iterative development process in close cooperation with LAVAlabs for WDR, a German public broadcasting institution. An initial prototype was presented at the re:publica 2018 to the public.
The project goal is to give WWII survivors the opportunity to share their personal history with the next generation. The narrative is augmented by digital effects and 3D elements to illustrate the narrative and leave a lasting impression. We interviewed three eyewitnesses living in Russia, Germany and England. During the interview we asked them to tell a personal story from their perspective as a child during the war and focus on particularly impressive moments. We then selected the most promising elements of the narrative and designed an augmented illustration. It was a challenge to illustrate the narrative in an appropriate and impressive way without focusing too much on digital effects. To our knowledge, the augmentation of the real environment of the user with war survivors, combined with documentary content as a new form of documentary film, holds true novelty value. While using the app, users get the possibility to realize, that each of the three interviewed persons suffered from war, independent of the country they lived in.
Christian Zimmer, Nanette Ratz, Michael Bertram, Marvin Voß, Dennis Meyer und Paul Kretschel