Sam Wolson
& Trevor Snapp

We Who Remain (2017)

HD Video, 32’, with sound, German with English Subtitles

Introduction by curator Fernanda Parente

The piece I chose for this exhibition, We Who Remain by Sam Wolson and Trevor Snapp, is a Virtual Reality documentary. Though the term might sound contradictory in itself, the format gives us a chance to explore very concrete realities, which just happen not to be realities of our own experience.

Since VR has been labelled the “ultimate empathy machine”, many organisations—including charities and the United Nations—have experimented with 360o documentary formats to mobilise people toward a variety of causes. Although I believe in the power of VR documentaries, the intimacy of the medium is, in my opinion, what induces empathy. When you put on your goggles, then have someone look into your eyes and tell you about their hardships living in a place cut off from the world with no humanitarian aid, it’s hard to ignore the immediate human connection.

And this is the very reason I chose We Who Remain for this exhibition. It is not only a beautiful piece of film; it also gives us a snippet of another reality that is harsh, but tangible to many who are living or have lived in this active conflict zone. I hope this piece reminds us of the migration stories of millions that are displaced in Sudan, and of internal migration within Africa, which is a topic often forgotten in the European discourse.

It is highly recommended that you experience this piece with a Virtual Reality headset via the New York Times VR app. Download the app for iPhone at the Apple AppStore or for Android at Google Play. Alternatively, you can watch the 360o video version below.


Read the Curator Perspective by Fernanda Parente in the SCB Journal.

About the artwork

The work was available 12 October – 1 December 2017.

Online Exhibition