Our time outside has increasingly been curbed and just being outdoors has become akin to danger as we adjust to the new reality of living during a global pandemic.
Months of longing to see different cities and spaces got us to the point of asking ourselves, ‘if we can’t go could we possibly experience these spaces in the comfort of our houses? The answer to this was why not! We have built a prototype Simulator called Simul8r that allows users (without a VR headset) to explore landmarks and places of interest. It not only acts as a novel way to explore existing places but as an archive for spaces such as our first featured location that are slowly disappearing or constantly changing. For our public Beta test, we present one of Nairobi’s greatest features, Karura Forest and parts of Nairobi’s Central Business District.
Karura forest was gazetted in 1932 and used to be 2627 acres. It however now has been reduced to almost half its original size due to encroachment and development. Ironically one of the buildings on land carved out of the forest is the United Nations Environment Programmes’ global headquarters.
Nairobi’s Central Business District is the centre of government and commerce for one of Africa’s most powerful economies. Like any major city, Nairobi has many different faces and in the CBD all of these are shown. Through Simul8r explore different areas of a bustling metropolis that started as a colonial railway depot that now boasts architectural feats as well as historic landmarks.
Karura and Nairobi are evolving aspects of Kenya’s history and future, Through Simul8r explore them as they are now. However, we will continue recording and documenting these places so that eventually you can look back 6 years from now and walk the streets or the forest as it was today.
For the beta version, we shot these spaces and we are showcasing them as normal HD videos but in our second prototype, we plan to use 360 videos to give you a more diverse feeling of these spaces.
A fork of Simul8r will be added to our upcoming eCommerce website. Not only will potential clients be able to view artwork by Kenyan artists but they will do soo in a 3D/360 degree/Virtual Reality environment. To achieve this we have started digitising paintings and sculptures by Kenyan contemporary artists who are working with Creatives Garage. The first cohort of artists in our virtual galleries are part of Creatives Garage art at the junction project that was put on hold due to restrictions on movement and congregations.