French museum showcases virtual reality documentary by AUS member

  • Sunday 07, July 2019 01:07 PM
Sharjah 24: A virtual reality documentary by a faculty member from the College of Arts and Sciences at American University of Sharjah (AUS) has been selected as one of only eight installations currently on show as part of the “Mutation Hybridation” exhibition at the Memory of the Future Museum in Paris, France.
Entitled Kan Yama Kan (Once upon A Time In Palestine), the project took Dr. Suheil Dahdal, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication, five years to complete. The virtual reality documentary aims to preserve Palestinian culture that reimagines the past using new technologies.

Working in conjunction with Palestinian youngsters; the Sharek Youth Forum, a Palestinian youth organisation; and 18 students from across three AUS colleges, the project was shot in Palestine as well as at the MCM studio on campus and was completed with support from the AUS Faculty Research Grant.

Dr. Dahdal conceived the idea for the project, which uses VR and AR technology, while running a summer camp for children in the Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin in the occupied West Bank in 2003.

Speaking about the documentary, Dr. Dahdal said, “During the summer camp in 2003, there were 80 participants, and each night they would listen to Palestinian elders sharing stories of Palestinian history. The kids then created artwork and films for two weeks inspired by the stories. This project is very close to my heart because it’s about preserving Palestinian pre-1948 oral history and at a time so critical with not many elders remaining as living witnesses of what we had once upon a time. Through this project, their stories – even though they are gone – will remain alive for future generations.”

“I am very pleased and grateful to have worked with such wonderful students who were instrumental in achieving this pioneering innovation that is not only professional but unique as it created a world first, combing live-footage volumetric videos in a virtual 3D reimagined Palestinian village to immerse the audience in historical content,” Dr. Dahdal added.

The exhibition runs June 22—August 31, 2019. For more information on the project, please visit