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_Quipu Project

Quipu, an interactive online documentary, recounts one of the darker moments in recent Peruvian history by having users listen and respond to the recorded messages of its victims.

2015 Maria Court,Rosemarie Lerner
EN,QUECHUA,SP Visit the project

We didn’t want to tell a story about them, but rather provide the tools for the people affected by the forced sterilizations to tell their stories in their own words.

Maria Court, author.

The interactive, online documentary project, “Quipu,” seeks to create collective memory and help achieve justice for the nearly 300,000 women (and thousands of men) who were the subjects of a brutal sterilization program under Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori in the 1990s. The program targeted rural, poor and indigenous communities, thousands of whom have said they were forced to participate in the program without giving informed consent, and many of whom continue to suffer painful symptoms as the result of botched operations to this day.

The project’s name, design and inspiration comes from the ancient Inca system, Quipu, a system of colorful knotted strings used to keep official records and tell stories. Users click through colored dot icons, each representing a section of the testimony, and listen to the audio of phone calls from over 100 women–and counting– who dialed a collect telephone number and recorded messages about their experiences. The audio, along with responses from listeners, was collected using Drupal VoIP, an open source technology developed at MIT’s  Center for Civic Media. The result is a hybrid interactive documentary/ participatory oral history project that ends with a call to action to seek justice for the victims.

Project at a Glance :

Language : EN,QUECHUA,SP
Country : Peru,United Kingdom
Year : 2015
Author : Maria Court,Rosemarie Lerner
Producer : Julia Gamarra,Maria Court,Rosemarie Lerner,Sandra Tabares Duque,Sebastian Melo
Developers : Ewan Cass­Kavanagh,Helios Design Lab,Mike Robins
Designers : Helios Design Labs,Mike Robins
Festivals : Hot Docs Festival Canada,IDFA DocLab,iDocs Symposium,One World Festival (Prague),Sonar+D Chile,Steamer Salon (Tel Aviv),The Rooms Bristol
Awards & Nominations : Deutsche Welle The Bobs Awards for Online Activism (Shortlisted),Nominet Trust 100,Prix Ars Electronica Digital Communities Honorary Mention 2016
Funders AND Incubators : CrossCurrents Doc Fund Hot­Docs (Canada),Crowdfunding,FAU ­ Fondo Acción Urgente (Colombia),Fledgling Fund,REACT Future Documentary (AHRC),Tribeca New Media Fund,Twilio (in kind support),University of Bristol (UK)
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