On April 29th, 2015, in Curitiba, Brazil, more than 200 people were hurt (mostly civilian teachers) as a result from a brutal action from the police forces, following direct orders from Paraná state’s government.
The institutional violence was noticed by Brazilian and international media. Teachers were protesting against changes in their social security system when the police attacked with bombs and plastic bullets. In addition, the government submitted policemen to a delicate ethical choice: a) join the violent attack, and keep their jobs; or b) support the collective cause (i.e., better conditions for workers), and deal with the consequences. More than 15 policemen refused to attack the teachers and were arrested, threatened with dismissal.
Coincidently or not, scenarios like this one are excluded from the new military and law enforcement training simulator systems—technology used by several police departments in the world, based on 3D simulation and virtual reality. Would this exclusion be motivated by ignorance, or convenience?
The project “29 de Abril” (in English, ‘April 29th’) aims to explore this issue, standing at the same time as a melancholic portrait in times of austerity and manifestations.
It consists of a military and law enforcement training 3D simulator (or a video game), in which the user takes the place of a policeman in charge of repressing teachers—under threats of arrest and dismissal in case of refuse. The action happens during the last 30 seconds that precedes the approval of the changes in the social security system, voted a few meters away, inside Parana’s legislative assembly.
The hostile environment was recreated based on texts, pictures and videos available online:
Video showing the recreated 3D scenario
Some pictures of the real scenario (retrieved from maps.google.com)
“29 de Abril” is an open-source non-profit artistic work. It is dedicated to all people hurt and arrested (both teachers and policemen) in that cloudy afternoon in Curitiba.
Short video presenting the real April 29th (audio in portuguese)
For trying out the project, please, visit our download page. For feedback or any other enquiries about this project, please, visit out contact page. Check our references and related links in our tumblr.
Please, note that I am NOT the author of all artworks used in this project, although they are free if used in non-commercial applications (or Creative Commons licenses). The full list and acknowledgements are available in the credits page.
Developed by Jeraman in Natal, Brazil, and Montreal, Canada, between June and July 2015.