VICE World News has launched a new multimedia project, exploring the most disputed artefacts housed in the British Museum. The Unfiltered History Tour is an unofficial guide developed with Dentsu Webchutney India, that offers an insight into the history of 10 iconic items on display in the British Museum via an interactive mobile site and a 10-episode podcast series featuring experts from the homelands of these objects.
The Unfiltered History Tour allows users to take a tour of the museum thanks to Instagram filters and immersive audio. Users scan objects including the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon Marbles and Benin Bronzes to unlock an augmented reality, which steps back in time to show the moment these items were removed. A series of podcast episodes featuring interviews with experts from these countries brings the immersive experience to life.
VICE World News has brought a range of people from the homelands of these objects to tell their original stories, and to educate young British audiences about the history and impacts of colonialism. These include Aboriginal rights activist Rodney Kelly – a descendent of the original owner of the Gweagal Shield, Nigerian artist Victor Ehikhamenor – who represented Nigeria in its first ever Venice Biennale show in 2017 and Rapa Nui governor, Tarita Rapu.
The podcast series – which is accessible through the mobile site TheUnfilteredHistoryTour.com and all major podcast platforms, spotlights the cultural significance of the 10 items from the perspective of those who were denied a deeper relationship to them thanks to their removal.
This project builds on the success of the VICE World News video series Empires of Dirt, which uncovered stories of colonialism often not taught in schools, and to date has been viewed 19 million times across YouTube and Facebook.
The Unfiltered History Tour is the latest from VICE World News, VICE Media Group’s international news network, which produces hundreds of hours of television, digital and audio news programming for a global audience. The premium documentaries, docu-series, and original podcasts focus on the core issues that define VICE’s content: extremism, climate, privacy, inequality, and race.
John Montoya, Senior Director, Audience & Content Strategy at VICE Media Group, said: “The Unfiltered History Tour is an important teaching tool for our audience: we want to continue to educate them on the historic and modern inequalities that have been woven into our everyday lives, using technology and social media to unlock a fuller experience. There is still so much to unpack about colonialism in Britain today: we hope that this project can play a part in furthering this.”
PG Aditiya (CCO), Binaifer Dulani (Creative Director) and Karishma Changroth (Group Account Director) of Dentsu Webchutney, said: “Each country has specific expectations from the Museum. And while a dialogue on the future of these artefacts is ongoing, their history is not narrated (in the Museum’s Official Tour) by the voices and places from where the artefact came from. This had to change. The Unfiltered History Tour gives people from the countries these artefacts came from, a way to play ‘tour guide’ and tell their side of their artefact’s history – to every visitor when they’re right in front of it – in an incredibly immersive way. We hope this encourages every visitor to start engaging in meaningful dialogue about reconciling with our uncomfortable shared pasts in an equitable manner.”
The project launched globally yesterday, accompanied by social activation across VICE Media Group’s network, including VICE World News’ 1million+ Instagram account.
Full list of artefacts featured in The Unfiltered History Tour: Rosetta Stone (Egypt), Parthenon Marbles (Greece), Hoa Hakananai’a (Rapa Nui), Birdman (Jamaica), Summer Palace (China), Gweagal Shield (Australia), Amaravati Marbles (India), Ashurbanipal (Iraq), Benin Bronzes (Nigeria), Akan Drum (Ghana).