Rutas del Conflicto throughout its investigations has identified different abandoned villages as a result of violence and forced displacement in colombian armed conflict. This project wants to reconstruct in deep the stories of four of these towns in 360 technologies and create a database of 40 of them to be visualised through an interactive map.
For us, it is fundamental to make visible the stories of the victims of colombian armed conflict but also the places and spaces where everything happened. That is why we found in 360 technologies the perfect tool to approach those places and stories in an appropriate immersive level. In this way we want the audience to experience being there, understand what happened and see the consequences that are still present on these abandoned villages. Finally we want to show the audience how communities are working every day in the reconstruction of their lives, their places and their memory.
Through nature sounds, landscapes, voices of people who lived war and first person navigation, we want to construct a path or a route of the fundamental points of each village related to armed conflict and the process of abandonment so that the audience can follow it and experience, observe and hear what is being there. This project wants to reconstruct the history of four fundamental towns where the problem is more evident: Puerto Saldaña in Tolima department, El Castillo in Meta department and finally Las Palmas and Mampuján, in Bolivar department.
The other part of the project is the construction from zero of a database of 40 abandoned villages in Colombian war and the visualization of them in an interactive map that shows their location, basic information of each case and in 15 of these cases, in deep reportages. More than just a database of abandoned places, it is a possibility to go through them, know their stories, show another face of the consequences of forced displacement and reconstruct memory of colombian internal conflict.
What makes this project innovative?
We will deepen the discussion on the dimension of villages abandoned by the war in Colombia, as well as on the new complexities that have emerged in rural side during return processes. Colombian media has not addressed this issue in depth and extensively. There is not yet a generalized knowledge about those processes and either about how this understanding could contribute to the assertive articulation of public policies in favor of victims. The construction of a database of these towns and the findings that emerge from this exercise, such as the similarities and differences between the processes in one and another, will contribute to the comprehension not only of the particular needs of each one, but also of how some areas of the country require focused regional attention. Towns in Oblivion will innovate through journalistic content. This project also ventures into the use of new technologies for the creation content. By means of an interactive 360° narrative, our users will be able to take a more comprehensive look at the realities of these territories with return processes. We will reconstruct the violent events that occurred in the area and explain them in terms of geography. The diverse colombian geography in many cases conditioned the way in which the war was fought. This is the case of Puerto Saldaña, a municipality that has multiple stories of explosive cylinders. It was in the territory where we understood that this town is surrounded by mountains, so the strategy used by armed groups to attack it was by throwing cylinders from the heights. Other already-existing ways to virtually visit places bring users closer visually and spatially to this places, but not socially or culturally. Our interactive 360° navigation allows not only to visually navigate, but also to watch videos and listen to the voices of the inhabitants, their life stories, their problems y their ventures. Towns in Oblivion will also innovate through communication technologies.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
The impact of the audience of the “Villages in oblivion” has been positive. At the moment we can identify three parts to consider the impact on the audience. In the first place, the indexes and measures of the social media before and after the launching of the project. Secondly, the warmly welcome of the launch of the project. Lastly, the social media traffic after the launch of the website’s project . It is necessary to know that this information is from January 2019 to March 2019. Among the data that have been taken into account to measure the audience, different publications are included in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Some post were of campaigns of expectation of the project, others on the project, as such and others on festivals and radio programs in which “Villages in oblivion” has positioned itself as an innovative journalistic product throughout Colombia. Identifying the figures of the social networks These are the figures identified in the social networks of Routes of the Conflict: Instagram: 6 post since February 2019. 4,841 accounts reached. Facebook: organizational post reach 15,136 profiles reached. Twitter: more than 12 tweets with their respective publications and retweets impressions 21,677 “The Villages in oblivion” was online on February 26, 2019 and Rutas del Conflicto organize an event for the release. By calling social networks and networks of interested publics ( journalist, researchers, human rights defenders) to more than 100 people in an auditorium to learn more about this virtual project. Third, it is necessary to review the figures on the individual website of “the Villages in oblivion”. Although it is hosted within the Routes of Conflict server, this web portal registered more than 1000visits to date since its release (February 2019). In Routes of the Conflict we consider that “the Villages in oblivion” has a possibility of generating a high impact on the audience. Thanks to the idea of generating QR codes, freely accessible websites and using new technologies to make a journalistic project an entertaining experience, capable of offering information in context of the Colombian armed conflict in a new way that seeks to narrate in another way the stories of abandonment and return of many Villages in oblivion in the Colombian territory
Source and methodology
The methodology of our project is composed of two main parts: the database methodology and the 360º path methodology. Database Methodology The first part of our work was the construction of a database of abandoned villages in Colombia caused by forced displacement. The start point to construct it was an investigation called Devastated Villages from the National Center of Historic Memory (Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica, CNMH). It talks about regions in Colombia that were emptied because of forced displacement in the context of colombian armed conflict, a subject that has not been much investigated. There we could observe the most affected regions (departamentos) in the country by this phenomenon so we select some of them and divide them between the members of the group. Each person through different sources like press, academic works and other investigations of the CNMH, inquired about the specific villages of each region that were more emptied and with that information we started to create from zero our database of Villages in Oblivion. While each member investigate about specific abandoned villages, we define the categories of our database: specific location of the village, name, coordinates, event that produce the displacement, date, armed actors involved, of there was a process of return in the village , the description of the case and finally, the sources. We thought that those categories bring together the universe of the phenomenon we were studying. Then, to continue our investigation of specific abandoned villages, we have the access to two databases from the CNMH, one called “Total de personas desplazadas por departamento de expulsión” (Total of people displaced from each department (region) of expulsion) and the other called “Masacres con éxodo” (Massacres with exodus). The first one shows the numbers of people that came out of their villages each year (from 1980 to 2013). The second one shows what massacres in villages of Colombia produce the massive exodus of its population. Finally, three of our reporters selected 15 stories of abandoned villages and write in-depth texts about each case with further information and sources. 360º path methodology One of the reporters of the group had made an investigation about a village called Puerto Saldaña in Tolima region that was emptied because of a Farc attack. That’s why our colleague had a lot of information about what happened in specific places of the village but also and more important, she had the contacts of the people in Puerto Saldaña that we want to interview. Our colleague told us about specific points where armed conflict has impact so we started to define thematic lines to construct the circuit: historic data, places of memory, actual situation and cotidianity. We wanted that the path was balanced so we define the specific information and places we want to incluse. For example, in places of memory, we selected the memory museum of the village and the school. Then, we define the complete route of the village. We travel to Puerto Saldaña and during three days we made audiovisual and sound interviews, we made filmations with a drone and we take de 360º fotos and normal fotos. Back in Bogotá we divided the postproduction work so we write texts and we edite audios and videos.
The Villages in oblivion could be divided into two ways to approach the technologies that were used for the web project. First, the georeferenced visualization of databases to identify “the Villages in oblivion” of Colombia. In second place would be the composition 360 in which the audiovisual language has always been linked to technology, allowing us to experience new narrative structures. Today, 360 contents and virtual reality open the doors to create interactive and immersive audiovisual compositions, turning them into a realistic and participatory experience. In the production process, the sound of the environment, the interviews, are captured, video shots and 360 photographs; Then, in the post-production phase, all the material is edited and the style and visual unity are given according to the narrative of the project. After having all the material ready we use 'Panotour', a program that allows us to consolidate and design the Virtual Tour, with the aforementioned resources. The Virtual Tour is designed to be played on any digital platform, through HTML from computers or mobile devices and is also compatible with VR technology accessories such as Cardboard (google), Samsung Gear, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, etc. Finally, this audiovisual composition can be more than a space of admiration, one of reflection both for the spectators and for the community that is represented in the places, and stories that are shown there. So that communities would not only have a different way of approaching their own history, but they would also recognize a narrative that could lead them to have new experiences with technology. All results in an audiovisual composition in which space is the protagonist and stories mark the narrative, since the voices that accompany the photographs are the same as those that filled the spaces that were observed a long time ago. The importance of these being photographs and not videos, is that they allow the viewer to take the time to contemplate and pay attention to details in a more prolonged way.
Rutas del conflicto: JImena Neira Carol Sánchez Nicole Acuña Álvaro Avendaño Paramo Audiovisual: Manuel Mora Juan Roerto Páramo