AR Awareness Campaign
In the United States, African-American women die from pregnancy-related causes at a rate 3.3 times higher than those of white women. Using augmented reality, the lives of 5 women, Tashonna Ward, Kira Johnson, Audrey Lockett LaBranche, Lashonda Hazard, and Amber Isaac, are celebrated in a photo gallery display. Upon tapping their respective photos, their unique stories load giving insight to who they were as women and mothers, and the circumstances that led to their death. The goal of this experience is to create awareness of this problem that has worsened for Black women in America and lead to more advocacy for better health care, communication and support.
For ways to get involved, please visit https://4kira4moms.com
February 7, 2020 – May 5, 2020
This initiated as an exercise in oversimplifying something extremely complicated. I chose pregnancy because as an African American woman in America, I know that I am more likely not to survive a pregnancy of childbirth due to medical bias and insufficient care. How amazing would it be if that was not the case, to guarantee life for not just for the baby, but the mother as well with just a simple machine. I created a promo video for it, and when given the opportunity to expand, I conducted more research and explored various options.
In conceptualizing a revised version of this project, I aimed to bring attention to the real life fear of dying during childbirth that African American women experience due to biases in the medical industry. The keywords I chose to target were “Black woman pregnancy death,” “medical biases,” “racial disparities.” I came up with the following directions:
– Body paint and print 3d models of multiple generations of a woman
– Diversity and Inclusion in All Realities
– Post apocalyptic world
– Nightmares come true
– Introduce physical items ie items to crawl on skin
– Narrative: You are a Black woman going experiencing all of your fears
I intially chose to go with “nightmares come true,” and went so far as to plan the entire story and collect assets. However, it lacked the personability I desired. Due to Covid, my access to the resources and equipment necessary to build this out in virtual reality was limited. In order to test properly and meet my own deadlines, I decided to make my medium augmented reality and find a new way to bring awareness to this issue.
This led to the best pivot I could have turly imagined. A photo wall of the women we have lost to preventable pregnancy-related causes. Their lives are important, they matter, and they should not be forgotten. I stated researching women to include, and I wish I could have included them all. I limited it to five people and then started on the mock-ups. I envisioned the same kind of photo wall you’d seein someone’s home, family photos of loved ones in the living room. Once a photo is tapped, in grows and centers to the screen. A card appears like that in an art gallery or museum along the side withinformation on that woman’s life. There is also a call to action for viewers to learn more and find how the can get involved. This was a very personal and emotional project, and I am so proud to have been able to create it and share it with my community.