Video game prototype project development in collaboration with the Master’s student of the Université de Lorraine and a young newcomer at the new RIC of Lesbos. A project supported by the Startsubsidie Stimulering fonds. (October 2020 / February 2021 ; Greece-France-Netherlands)
I worked in November 2020 on the island of Lesvos in the Aegean Sea. Lesvos is, due to Turkey’s proximity, an important crossing point for people fleeing wars and crises in the Middle East and Africa. I started scouting there for a documentary video game project: Mare Liberum; Initially, it was to be an open-access documentary game that would use the codes of the interactive video game to raise awareness to the general public to solidarity with migrants arriving in Europe.
As a documentary director, I wanted to explore the new territories that are now open to us and to address the following question: How to create a playful mediation around a difficult subject through a video game? Thanks to this development grant, I was able to start a collaboration with the Master’s students at the Université de Lorraine. My project was to offer the player the opportunity to experience the importance of solidarity in a fictional way. This educational and civic project was therefore aimed primarily at a large audience of young adolescents.
During my research on location I spent several days in Kara Tepe’s new RIC where I got to meet Sima, a young teenage girl from the Afghan Hazara community. She was born in Iran during her parents’s first exile from Afghanistan. Sima has become the main collaborator of my video game project. It was above all for me an example of resilience and emancipation among others in the face of the abusive and illegal restrictions that have become the rule within the RIC. Kara Tepe’s RIC, and the Moria camp before it, have over the years shaped a societal microcosm of Europe. I was able to map the different solidarities that have emerged in and outside of Kara Tepe’s RIC and meet the different actors of this solidarity.
(The video game prototype is accessible on windows system and free to download via this link: https://melaine-dina.itch.io/mare-liberum)
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