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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Sandbox of Memory

  • Author(s): Wadhwa, Parul
  • Advisor(s): Daniel, Sharon
  • et al.

This thesis explores the development of a virtual reality documentary piece Sandbox of Memory.

Sandbox of Memory is a story of personal memory. The accidental discovery of a forgotten briefcase leads Navdha Malhotra to discover the lost history of her grandfather, a refugee from the partition of India. She uncovers a treasure trove of identity. His refugee documents, degree certificates, passport and personal journal entries reveal to her the man he was in India under British colonial rule. This thesis paper describes my experiences developing Sandbox of Memory and outlines some of the lessons learned, setbacks, and successes. The project constitutes my first attempt at an immersive documentary. The set of core research questions relates to the significance of alternative and forgotten histories, oral storytelling, and experience in the emerging medium of virtual reality.

Keywords: documentary, post-colonial theory, virtual reality, oral histories, memory, trauma, forced migration, erased history, marginalized narratives, testimony, truth, cultural identity.

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