PEOPLE2PEOPLE is a virtual reality film project - a collection of short documentaries portraying the lives of individual Palestinians and Israelis that may create a space within which both sides can (virtually) meet the respective other where direct contact is not possible.
This project invites you to immerse yourself into the stories, thoughts, fears and beliefs of those on the other side.
What is VR?
Virtual reality (VR) is the most recent development within the realm of the media film and allows for the immersion of a viewer into a 360° film environment.
To enter this virtual environment the only thing needed is a smartphone and VR headset.
What makes VR unique is that the viewer appears to be
physically located in the environment he or she is visually exposed to.
The People2People project is build upon an academic framework that draws on and sets into dialogue the literatures on peace-building, identity, empathy, the media film and virtual reality technology.
For a look behind the scenes and further information on how this theoretical scope has informed the artistic approach upon which this project is visually, textually and technologically conceptualised, click on the button below.
“Meeting different people on both sides of the separation wall, during my many visits to the Holy Land, allowed me to gain a better picture of the complexity and the historical context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, how it permeates people’s everyday life and how it is deeply entrenched into their sense of identity. Simultaneously though, the more people I met and listened to, the less I understood why, for decades, these people have failed to make sustainable peace. The immersion into the hearts and minds of Israelis as well as Palestinians let the omnipresent polarity of the conflict blur and sometimes even vanish. Everyone, every single person I met, was clearly bringing forth the predisposition of a peaceful and loving human being and even the willingness to bring about peace.
Experiencing the deep longing for peace on both sides of the separation wall gave me the impetus to look for a way in which the two peoples may come to experience the warmth and peacefulness on the respective other side that I hadencountered. Arguably, one of the biggest hindrances to creating peace in the region are the mutually reinforcing physical and mental walls between the two peoples – in theory it’s as simple as that. As an outsider, a holder of a German passport, I can physically go back and forth between the two worlds. However, the majority of people in Israel and Palestine cannot. Further, most Israelis and Palestinians are brought up - at home and at school – with a strong us versus them mentality that fosters bias, fear and hatred towards the other. As an outsider, not carrying an Israeli or Palestinian narrative on my back, I do
not find myself caught up in this us-versus-them mentality. Whilst the physical and mental walls that both give manifestation to and perpetuate the conflict usually don’t allow people from both sides to encounter each other, I can step into and experience a space between them – a space beyond us-versus-them. I myself I am not only capable to step into that space, but I hope to bring to life this in-between space that exists or may come to exist between Israelis and Palestinians, to create a bridge that may transcend the physical and mental walls between them. It is in this light that I started grappling with the question how the physical and mental walls may be overcome in order to facilitate a reconciliation process in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Whilst this question certainly exceeds the scope of this project, it seeks to contribute a small mosaic stone to the larger project of creating peace in one of the most bitterly disputed and intractable conflicts of our time.”