THE DISASTER ARTIST

Interaction Design

2020 - Iceland University of the Arts

Cirrus exchange program, during which a concept for an interactive memorial for the victims of the Anfal genocide in Halabja was established.

The course was dedicated to show the role of Arts and Artist in times of disaster. 

In each of the four stages of disaster management arts and artist can be a significant factor to reduce the impact of a disaster on the affected community.

 

My project was dedicated to commemorate the genocide on the Kurdish people in Halabja in Iraq in 1988 by creating an interactive memorial.

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Background

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The Anfal campaign was a genocide conducted against the Kurdish people by the Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein in 1987/88. The campaign took more than 180000 lives, mostly civilians. Some the victims disappeared without a trace and are still missing.

The most atrocious act of the Anfal campaign was the chemical attack over the city of Halabja. A mixture of mustard gas along with unidentified nerve agents were dropped over the city leaving the civilian citizens in agonizing pain before passing away within minutes. Those who survived suffer from immense physical and psychological consequences to this day. 

Current Memorials

Most of the information at memorial sites is not available in English

Foreigners visiting have limited access to historic background

Info centers lack capacity to provide trained guides

Impacted cities are not easily accessible or in remote locations

Resulting in less awareness and commemoration

A Disaster is...

“…an occurrence disrupting the normal conditions of existence and causing a level of suffering that exceeds the capacity of adjustment of the affected community”  

 -World Health Organization

A Trauma...

..is a lasting adverse effect on an individual´s functioning and physical, social, emotional or spiritual well-being

...Results from an event of overwhelming stress

DISASTER MANAGEMENT CYCLE

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Disasters and consecutive trauma can severely debilitate individuals and entire societies

Remembering and honoring the victims is a significant part of the healing process

Design Aim

Designing an interface to inform visitors of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq about the city of Halabja and its tragic history

 

Remembering and honoring the victims of a genocide

Interface Design Requirements

Easy to access and maintain
Provide information and honor the victims
Allow installation in public places

Design Inspiration: The Icelandic Pledge

When arriving in Iceland the first thing that caught my attention at the airport was the 'Icelandic Pledge' stand. Visitors place their hand on the device and pledge to be responsible visitors, to protect themselves and the Icelandic nature. My concept was immensely inspired by the pledge and its demand of an activity by which a cause is brought to our consciousness.

Visit https://inspiredbyiceland.com/pledge for further information on the pledge.

Hoover over the Interface 

Digital Map Interface

Explains the history behind the genocide

Shows locations of chemical attacks

Links to important documentary

References to memorials

Links via QR codes

Digital Map Interface
Digital Rememberance Interface
Camera

When the visitor places their hand on the screen, a remembrance statue, currently placed in the city of Halabja will light up. The visitor can follow the process on the monitor that is connected a camera observing the statue.

The residents of Halabja visually see that someone, at this very moment is remembering their lost ones. While at the same time the visitor can observe the impact of his activity on the statue.

Public Installation Concept

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The installation in the first place is meant to inform, but more importantly it aims at building a connection between the visitor and the impacted  communicty. Together they can remember the many victims of this tragedy and support the healing process of the community.

Watch the presentation at the Iceland University of the Arts

FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE TOPIC