Illustration of a child using a virtual reality headset with a recreation of the city of Aleppo in the background

Future Aleppo

20 - 24 Aug 2018
Exhibited as part of Journeys Festival International 2018, Future Aleppo blends virtual reality with paper models to rebuild the devastated Syrian city.

Amongst the destruction of his beloved home city, 13-year-old Mohammed Kteish resolved that he would rebuild Aleppo however he could. He would scavenge materials amongst the debris and then climb on to the roof of his apartment to survey the daily damage, reconstructing the fallen landmarks as papercrafted models.

Before long he had rebuilt the entire city, but as the violence escalated, he and his family fled across the border to Turkey. Mohammed continued to rebuild Aleppo as a means to record not only the architecture of the city, but -by using Virtual Reality – also its memories and personal histories

As part of Journey’s Festival International, we exhibited Mohammed’s actual model of Aleppo alongside the virtual reality installation, where visitors travel around and experience the city as Mohammed remembers it.

During this exhibition a new participatory VR piece was created. Future Leicester is a virtual reality environment that lets you walk around a virtual version of Leicester as imagined by its young people. The buildings are digital recreations of paper models made at the exhibition, with recognisable Leicester landmarks alongside more whimsical designs.

A close up photograph of the future aleppo model showing a road, buildings and a car A close up photograph of the future aleppo model showing a row of traffic lights along a road A close up photograph of the future aleppo model showing a set of high rise buildings A photograph of the Future Aleppo model, showing trees, roads and tall buildings constructed from paper and cardboard