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WE ARE ONE ("Somos Uno"): empowering communities to express through arts and technology

Giving communities affected by Colombia's armed conflict+environmental challenges, a way to deliver their message to the world effectively.

Photo of Felipe Jiménez
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The effectiveness on how to approach negative environmental and social impacts that we are currently experiencing on our planet and its communities, human and non-human alike (and in fact interconnected), may rely on where the ideas of change come from, how they are communicated, and what is the follow up process after the message has been delivered. “WE ARE ONE” focuses on communities that have been directly affected by complex violence dynamics and that are also seriously exposed to environmental and economical challenges (which unfortunately often come all together), giving them the opportunity to share their stories and send their messages in more effective ways through the use of arts and technology.


The potential for raising awareness and triggering transformation also relies on how messages reach the most people. In many occasions, communities create artistic pieces that carry within them a strong and valuable message, but disseminating those pieces around usually implies high costs or sometimes it is simply impossible to transport or spread them somehow. Through the use of 3D audio, also known as binaural audio, we are co-creating together with specific communities digital music-theatre shows that can be delivered to literally everyone around the world at very low or even no cost.

Different communities around Colombia that have specific conflict solving needs, environmental and economical challenges, will be selected and invited to participate in order to co-create with them 3D audio theatrical pieces. These pieces will be nourished with the traditional music and idiosyncrasy of each specific community, and their topics will deal with previously identified socio-environmental and economical needs in each community. Apart from creating strong bonds between the members of each community (people that in many cases have different interests in spite they share a territory and usually a common history), these pieces aim to create awareness, both within each community and in other contexts (E.g. in urban areas of Colombia and in an international audience), regarding the issues addressed by each piece in inspirational, mobilising, and empowering ways. 


The product will be delivered both physically and digitally to other areas of the country (and hopefully also to others places in the world) through different channels such as newspapers, online media, various digital platforms, etc. The audience will have the chance to connect directly, via a custom-designed interactive online platform, with the communities that co-created each 3D audio piece. Through the online platform, each community will be able to communicate and constantly upgrade their particular needs, and people who feel like supporting them will be informed of the best ways to do it according to each particular case (E.g. visiting them and volunteering in a specific area, getting to know their story better and sharing it with national/international related organisations that may help, donating funds for specific needs, etc.). The 3D audio pieces and the online platform as a whole, will generate a sustainable touristic interest that will financially support the communities allowing them to build a tangible sense of prosperity and creating the conditions for follow up processes.


Testing the idea:

In order to test the initiative, we have found a simple but effective way of recording a 3D audio piece. We divide the testing process into different phases:

  • Phase 1: Finding/inviting a small community with a specific conflict solving need that requires the awareness of a wider community (E.g. People and women against domestic violence)

  • Phase 2: Having a test workshop where the people from this community are invited to find possible solutions to their conflict and to translate them into an artistic 3D audio music-theatre play with out technical and artistic facilitation.

  • Phase 3: Recording the play in our low cost tools, so that we can have an approach to what it should sound like with higher cost / higher quality equipment.

  • Phase 4: Finding a different community who is willing to listen to the final product + having a follow up on how it affected them and what are their opinions on it.

Ideal help for our idea:

We require different kinds of help! Although we have been slowly gathering a strong interdisciplinary team, we would definitely appreciate information or experts support on alternative educational tools, conflict solving, pedagogical-artistic expression, the use of theatre in conflict solving, and 3D audio/binaural audio experts that can be involved in the recording processes, amongst others. If you know about communities with burning conflict solving needs merged with environmental/economical challenges, it would be great to get to know them. We have already identified several of them but we are sure there are many more. If you know any distribution channels that may be helpful and may reach a great amount of people, this would also be really appreciated.

It is time to make a change in a peaceful, creative, and effective way. Please be part of the co-creation of this kind of changes!

Explain your idea

In Hermanos Brothers we are all about finding powerful ways to use arts, education and new technologies as inspirational and communicational tools. We are passionate about delivering messages in ways that trigger transformation processes and allow people to empower in social, cultural, and environmental related topics. If we keep looking for solutions outside the source of the challenges we are trying to deal with, we may find ourselves driving in circles or navigating in merely theoretical rivers as we are not experiencing the conflicts directly from their roots. It is the people who have lived the impact of violence and environmental/economical related challenges, the ones who more feasibly have found ways to cope with those realities and who can really teach us new approaches that can have a positive impact on a wider context. “WE ARE ONE” gives the opportunity to these communities directly affected by the above mentioned issues to transmit their messages in a more effective way through the use of arts and technology. We use 3D Audio (also known as Binaural technology) to create short music-theatre pieces with different communities around Colombia. These audio pieces carry an environmental and social inspirational message, allowing the listeners to literally immerse in the sonic experience of being inside the community, directly attending to the conflicts and experiencing the artistic journey that ends up in possible solutions. Prior to the recording process with the members of the communities that participate in the project, they will be part of a workshop designed to understand what a conflict really is, how arts can be helpful to find solutions, and how they can be used as an effective communication tool. The final product of this workshop will be the writing and recording, both theatrical and musically, of a 3D audio show that seeks to inspire the participants, and later on the future audience, to proactively participate from the change they want to see. This product will be delivered both physically and digitally to other areas of the country (and hopefully of the world) through different channels such as newspapers, online media, digital platforms, cinemas, airlines, etc. Having an empowering and immersive 3d audio music-theatre experience, directly solves the need of finding an effective artistic communication tool that can be delivered at very low cost to several places at a time, even simultaneously. Additionally, apart from the audio pieces and the custom-designed digital platform described above, we will be registering on video the whole project in order to come out with a well crafted documentary that captures the local and inter-regional dynamics of the whole initiative. This product will strategically complement the inspirational and mobilising impact sought with the 3D audio pieces.

Who Benefits?

Communities that have been directly affected by complex violence dynamics linked to Colombia's armed conflict, and that are also seriously exposed to environmental and economical challenges (which unfortunately often come all together). The members of these communities that end up participating in the project will benefit directly, as they are the ones with whom we will be co-creating each 3D audio piece. They will have the opportunity to work on their conflicts while using an expressive media that can reach people all over the globe. The participant communities as a whole will be positively impacted (spill over effect). Afterwards, the audience will be inspired to transform their behavioural patterns. This project gives the opportunity to those who are experiencing the impact of multi-dimensional conflicts to express themselves and allow other people to understand (feel!) how the challenges can be approached from the eyes (ears in this case) of those who are living them from inside.

How is your idea unique?

The effectiveness of our approach based on alternative methodologies to conflict solving, both environmental and social, relies on where are we allowing the ideas for change to come from. We want to find solutions with the real experts on the topics, meaning the people who have been living the conflicts and that are still facing them on a daily basis. By co-creating the shows (3D audio music-theatre pieces) directly with those who are really affected and struggling to thrive, we are literally giving a 3D voice to those who have barely had one. The uniqueness of the inspirational 3D audio music-theatre pieces also rely on their potential of reaching people all over the world at very low or even no cost. Our strong marketing plan will allow us to find strategic distribution channels and allies once the pieces are recorded. Additionally, the custom-designed online platform that we envision will assure a direct communication channel between the communities and the future audiences.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.
  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.
  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about you

Hermanos Brothers is a creative platform/business devoted to inspiring personal and collective transformation processes. We utilise music, theatre, arts, audiovisual media, education, and new creative technologies, amongst others tools, to co-create non-conventional, impactful, and disruptive participatory experiences that engage the senses and hearts of our audiences. Our energy is focused on "how" we communicate relevant content with the purpose of inspiring, raising awareness and empowering the people with whom we interact, in relation to various social, environmental and cultural challenges that we currently face, both locally and globally. Our first pilot projects took place between London, South Devon (UK) and Bogotá in 2014-2015. We're currently and happily based in Bogotá, still having part of our team in London. You can learn more about us in www.hermanosbrothers.com (currently being upgraded but still suitable for checking out what we´re into!). Several organisations/foundations have manifested their interest in being part of this project. The indigenous community of Mocagua (Colombian Amazones), the NGO Barquitos de Papel which works with children and vulnerable population in the regions of La Guajira, Chocó and Tolú (https://www.facebook.com/barquitosdepapelcolombia/), and some of the communal leaders from the municipality of Don Diego (Magdalena), have openly expressed us their interest in participating on the first phase of this project.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered company.

4 comments

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Photo of Suzie
Team

Access to the arts for hard-to-reach communities and people from areas of low-engagement is such an important issue - to see a project that's finding a creative solution to this and combining it with a social development focus is really exciting. It feels very Boal-inspired; like a new wave of Forum Theatre that makes use of technology to push the boundaries of that genre. What's the process of gathering the material from the communities that you're working with and curating that material into a theatrical piece?

Photo of Felipe Jiménez
Team

Thanks for your comment and energy Suzie We are also very excited about it! (and there's definitely some Boal inspiration in it). Regarding your question, the process of gathering the material from the communities we'll be working with will imply spending several weeks with them (probably 2 or 3 before actually starting the recording phase)... sharing with them, getting immersed in their multi-dimensional challenges, exploring music making and performing tasks together, and, above all, listening them. A very participatory methodology... it's all about creating the conditions for them to feel empowered and confident enough to manifest through music and theatre their needs, fears, and feasible courses of action. Parallel to this process, members of our creative team will start the process of curating the material that's emerging on a regular basis and outlining possible theatrical frameworks. Although there would be a dramaturgist leading this process, we also want to create a space where the members of each participant community really feel they are the ones choosing the most burning topics to address through the music-theatre pieces :)

Photo of Daniela Restrepo Ortiz
Team

Hey Felipe! this sounds fascinating. Could you explain a little bit more what 3d audio is? (specially the 3d part?). I was wondering how people with audition disabilities could have access to these records or digital pieces. Are they sensorial in other ways that do not necessarily involve sound? Looking forward to see more :)

Photo of Felipe Jiménez
Team

Thanks a lot Daniela Restrepo Ortiz ! Of course! 3D audio is an audio recording technique which allows the listener to have a 3D perspective of the entire surrounding just by listening. As 3D movies do, where you get a depth illusion, with Binaural audio you not only listen Left and Right (which is the common stereo sound we are used to), but you can also listen in front of you, behind you, on top of you and all around. You just have to wear some headphones and the rest is just listening. Here is a pretty cool example of the things that can be done with binaural recorings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA

About your question regarding people with audition disabilities. First we thought about this type of theater as a "blind cinema". People with viewing disabilities would have the opportunity to live an immersive theatrical experience. But of course, as it is mainly audible, people with audition disabilities would not be able no enjoy the product. It would be great to make it a multisensorial experience (which is one of our long term goals), but not as a bonus for the audio material but as a show that does not depend on listening as well. Finding ways to reach the major part of our community is definitely an objective.

Thanks a lot for your comment and please let me know if my reply was somehow useful!