Augmented reality can be more than simply a way to enhance navigation or superimpose virtual sunglasses onto your face. The technology can also be a platform for shining a light on important social issues.
Directed by Gabo Arora, “These Sleepless Nights,” which premiered at this year’s Venice Film Festival, is an augmented reality documentary that highlights eviction issues and the growing homeless crisis in the U.S.
The documentary was inspired by Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize winning book “Evicted.”
The film will eventually become available in virtual reality and on mobile devices, but for now, the Magic Leap-powered exhibit is housed in a giant cube.
A viewer puts on the Magic Leap headset and walks around the cube, with each face of the cube telling a different part of the homelessness story. By placing your hands on the cube and sliding them across its surface, characters emerge and objects begin to materialize from the walls as an audio-based story is told.
In a country where white supremacists march the streets with impunity while black athletes are demonized for kneeling in protest during the national anthem, Italian filmmaker Roberto Minervini’s multi-narrative documentary “What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?” appears as an on-the-ground indictment of systematic racism in the U.S. and a testament to the grassroots culture of resistance actively fighting it.
Solemn in tone and indispensable in significance, the latest from an artist with a track record for surveying marginalized Americans is structured like a collage of incendiary and heart-wrenching moments that toe dip into social justice issues without staying long with any one idea.
That lack of focus presents itself as a natural virtue of Minervini’s method, which favors real interactions among its subjects — as truncated or extensive as these may be — over rehearsed answers to direct questions from behind the camera.
On television, when a perpetrator leaves a gun at the scene, a quick computer search can point law enforcement to the weapon’s owner. In reality—at least in the United States—no such database of firearms exists.
To have one would be illegal, according to legislation that passed in Congress in 1986, lobbied for by the National Rifle Association.
Instead, we have the National Tracing Center, in Martinsburg, West Virginia. There, a nonsearchable index of paperwork related to gun purchases is housed in hundreds of shipping containers and file boxes.
The small federal agency operates with technology so antiquated that it precludes the use of an Excel spreadsheet. It’s the only facility in the country that tracks firearms from a manufacturer to a purchaser.
Watch David Freid’s “Guns Found Here” above and read the story at The Atlantic.
Music artist Quintin “Q Nhannaz” Walters is ready to stop running.
As a young kid, growing up in the spotlight of his parents — the late Buffy the Human Beatbox from The Fat Boys and rapper Queen Pen, featured artist on the classic song “No Diggity” — he left his home in New York to start new roots in California.
In an effort to survive on his own, he began selling drugs and self-medicating to cope with his struggles.
In 2015, the Sacramento Police Department issued a warrant for his arrest, accusing him of drug trafficking and unlawful transportation with intent to distribute.
When Q got word that the police were looking for him, he went under the radar, always on the move, never staying in one place for too long.
VICE met up with Q to get a glimpse into what life on the run has been like and explore why he’s ready to stop running
Watch “Wanted for Drug Trafficking: Life on the Run” above and read the story at VICE.
The legacy of Jim Crow continues to loom large in the United States. But nowhere is it arguably more evident than in Louisiana.
In 1898, a constitutional convention in Louisiana successfully codified a slew of Jim Crow laws in a flagrant effort to disenfranchise black voters and otherwise infringe on their rights.
“Our mission was to establish the supremacy of the white race in this State to the extent to which it could be legally and constitutionally done,” wrote Louisiana’s Judiciary Committee Chairman Thomas Semmes.
One of the laws sought to maintain white supremacy in state courtrooms. In response to the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, which required the state to include black people on juries, Louisiana lawmakers and voters ratified a nonunanimous-jury law.
This law meant that a split jury—a verdict of 11–1 or 10–2—could convict a defendant to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The law was designed to marginalize black jurors on majority-white juries, and many believe that it has contributed to the state’s status as one of the prison capital of the world.
Watch “Jim Crow’s Last Stand” above and read the story at The Atlantic.
“Seadrift” was in the making before Donald Trump’s presidency started spreading xenophobia throughout the U.S.
But the 2016 election made it hard for director Tim Tsai to unsee the nearly word-for-word similarities between the archival footage of the Ku Klux Klan rallying against the the Vietnamese refugee community of Seadrift in the 1970s and the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite The Right” rally.
In the mid 1970s, the small town of Seadrift, Texas had their crab-catching economy disturbed by change. Vietnamese refugees, escaping the ravages of the Vietnam War, settled into Seadrift to forge livelihoods in the crabbing business.
As the refugees had little guidance or understanding of the Seadrift fishing customs, the white native fishermen became wary of the competition—xenophobia mixed into their attitudes—as the Vietnamese weren’t provided translators or assistance to understand long-established customs.
Vietnamese fishermen inadvertently crossed fishing boundaries and trouble brewed between the two sides.
Disputes peaked when Vietnamese fisherman Nguyen Van Sau shot and killed local white fisherman Billy Joe Alpin. When the jury acquitted Sau on the reason of self-defense, the Ku Klux Klan banked on the discord by burning the boats and homes of the refugees.