The New Yorker (Oculus, Mobile, Desktop)
China’s brutal and systemic detention of Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang is well documented, but there exists little photographic evidence from inside the camps, which has effectively limited Western journalistic coverage of what is likely the largest mass-internment drive of ethnic and religious minorities since the Second World War. A two-part project that comprises a VR documentary and an interactive feature, Reeducated uses testimony, hand-drawn illustration, and immersive video technology to record the atrocities and conditions inside the walls of the camp. The 20-minute film gives a haunting reconstruction of the Xinjiang camps, using 360-degree virtual reality technology to place the viewer directly inside the prison cells, classrooms, and torture rooms. In one scene, viewers are situated on a makeshift operating table, within the patient’s point of view, undergoing an urgent appendectomy without anesthesia. Three former detainees, Seituly, Koksebek, and Otarbai, narrate the relentless brutality they endured as they swirl into existence, drawn piece-by-piece with painterly ink illustrations, reminiscent of calligraphy and court drawings. Here, art links to memory, humanity, and justice. Under the highest journalistic standards, the Reeducated team immerses viewers into the extreme anxiety, fear, and suffering that over a million people—and counting—continue to endure. For co-creating powerful immersive evidence of life inside mass internment camps and bearing witness to the profound resolve of survivors in defense of their personal and collective humanity, Reeducated wins a Peabody.