AJ Contrast’s Still Here @ Gallery 78

Curatorship and immersive media exhibition

Awarded at the Sundance Festival in 2020, the immersive multimedia production Still Here left the United States for the first time to be shown in Brazil in March 2022, where it was on display for a month at Gallery 78, SuperUber’s digital arts space in Gamboa (Rio de Janeiro). The opening happened on March 9th, with the presence of the project’s director from New York, Zahra Rasool. Still Here explores the issue of the female prison system in the US and the lack of support to reintegrate women into society, as well as the gentrification of Harlem, a New York neighborhood traditionally inhabited by the black population..

Created by AJ Contrast, Al Jazeera’s digital segment, Still Here combines Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to show a fictional story, based on real events, about a woman’s life before and after living incarcerated in an American jail. We follow Jasmine Smith on her first day out of prison. The viewer immerses in her grandmother’s house, where she grew up, in Harlem. 360° audio and video take the audience back to Jasmine’s past memories and expectations after her 15-year period of incarceration.

In addition to the immersive media, photographs and stories of 6 prisoners, curated by Fred Ritchin, complete the narrative. Accompanying the exhibition, the documentary “Mãezinhas”, by Paula Sacchetta, about Brazilian women’s prisons brings the theme to the national context.

“Al Jazeera has a tradition of producing quality journalism and presenting it in an original way. AJ Contrast is proof of that. In Brazil, we associate VR and AR primarily with games. There are extremely relevant journalistic content that can be produced in immersive media, but it is still very little explored here. We hope to sensibilize visitors to the theme of Still Here, which is deeply connected to our reality.”, says co-founder of Galeria 78, Liana Brazil.