A Virtual Reality experience created in collaboration with contributors to the:

House of Memory / بيت الذاكرة  developed from Basil Al-Rawi’s practice-based PhD research at the Glasgow School of Art. The work derives from photographs and narratives contributed by Iraqi diaspora to the Iraq Photo Archive, an online platform created by the artist to gather personal archive photographs and associated memories. Participants were invited to contribute photos and take part in a filmed conversation about their memory of the photographic moment, giving voice to intangible and visually unrepresented elements. These recorded conversations, together with the original photograph, were remediated into a digitally constructed virtual memoryscape called House of Memory / بيت الذاكرة

Viewers enter this expanded interactive photographic moment in Virtual Reality, where a digital reconstruction of a traditional Iraqi ‘Shanasheel’ house is the central virtual environment. The digital reconstruction serves as a form of digital heritage visualisation, and also as a figurative and virtual home for the memory material. When a user interacts with a photograph in the space, they are transported into a virtual reconstruction of the photograph together with audio narration from an individual in the photo.

The ongoing project demonstrates an ethical use of immersive technologies to activate touchstones of memory and communicate individual narratives and hidden histories to wider communities.

  • Building collective community histories and counter narratives

  • Forming wider understanding of Iraqi stories beyond one-dimensional media representations

  • Challenging the dominant representation of Iraqi environments and culture within computer generated media such as video games.


2 + 1 = ?