Sohail Dahdal is a multimedia artist and documentary filmmaker with over twenty-five years of experience creating some of the most innovative interactive digital stories, including the award-winning online documentaries First Australians and Long Journey, Young Lives. Sohail is always pushing the boundaries of how technology interacts with story, not only as an artist but also in his role as a professor of media. His main research focus aligns with his creative work with an ambitious mission to engage youth in factual cultural and historical content via creating virtual and augmented reality documentaries that can weave this content into an immersive media experience, able to both education and entertain. Sohail also documents child refugee experiences in detention center in Australia, the project can be accessed on: https://pcd.flp.ps/content/sohail-dahdal-0
Five years in the making, this VR/AR documentary is a journey through time in the voice of Palestinian elders. The documentary uses volumetric videos and image recreation techniques to bring old archival images into a three-dimensional virtual and augment reality environment. The stories collected from the elders are rewritten as mini narrative stories and then reenacted, shot as volumetric videos. The volumetric videos are then placed in a pre 1948 3D reconstructed Palestinian villages and cities. The resulting project is an immersive VR documentary and an AR exhibition in which the user points at the old archival images and they come to life augmented with the volumetric videos. The stories are real, the images authentic and the combination is a reimagined immersive storytelling that aims to engage youth in cultural content. By using VR and AR we want to challenge the notion of representing history. Why not reconstruct it in ways that can bring it to life creating an artist’s factional narrative that takes liberty in artistic interpretation of history to make it more digestible not too dis-similar to what the Hakawati (oral storyteller) does.