Tuesday August 20, 2019

“Museum of Yesterday” : New App Reveals Little-known History of Rio de Janeiro Port

A new app, Inspired by Pokemon Go seeks to educate visitors about Rio de Janeiro port area's role in Brazilian history, from colonization and the arrival of slave ships to recent cases of corruption

0
//
New app
The "Museum of Yesterday" app is seen on a cell phone showing an old photograph of the port area before it was renovated, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 6, 2017. VOA
  • A new app seeks to educate visitors about the area’s role in Brazilian history, from colonization and the arrival of slave ships to recent cases of corruption
  • Inspired by Pokemon Go, the app detects users’ geo-location and only reveals the stories once users arrive at the location where the story took place
  • The area is home to attractions that include two museums and an aquarium, its rich history remains unknown to most locals and tourists

Rio de Janeiro, July 21, 2017: Rio de Janeiro’s port area may be one of the city’s most inviting spots since being renovated for the Olympic Games last year. But while the area is home to attractions that include two museums and an aquarium, its rich history remains unknown to most locals and tourists.

A new app seeks to educate visitors about the area’s role in Brazilian history, from colonization and the arrival of slave ships to recent cases of corruption.

Launched in late June by the nonprofit investigative journalism agency Agencia Publica, the app called “Museum of Yesterday” offers tours of the port in Portuguese and English.

But there’s a catch. Inspired by Pokemon Go, the app detects users’ geo-location and only reveals the stories once users arrive at the location where the story took place.

With over 160 points of interest, the app offers five options. The terror tour explores slavery, colonization and the country’s military dictatorship, along with other incidents like the 1993 Candelaria massacre in which eight people — many of them teenagers — were killed while sleeping on the steps of the Candelaria church. The corruption tour investigates bribery from the time of King John VI of Portugal to recent kickback schemes. The samba tour explores the roots of Rio’s traditional Carnival music. Finally, the tour of ghosts explores important historical figures that are sometimes forgotten.

ALSO READMobile Applications Ensure Public Safety in Rio De Janerio

“Rio’s port carries a lot of the history of Brazil,” said Gabriele Roza, a journalist at Agencia Publica who contributed to the stories in the app. “What we realized was that these stories are not present here.”

Indeed during the Rio Olympic Games, local authorities emphatically promoted the port’s new attractions such as the futuristic looking Museum of Tomorrow designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava that cost $55 million, and a new boulevard decorated by internationally acclaimed street artists.

But the city neglects other historical attractions located a few blocks away such as the Valongo Wharf, an archaeological site where hundreds of thousands of slaves debarked after their harrowing journey across the Atlantic.

Francesca Declich, an Italian anthropologist visiting the Valongo Wharf on July 9, the day it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site, complained that the wharf was hard to find and that there was only basic information available on a three-paragraph-long plaque next to the pit.

The port is also connected to the present-day Car Wash corruption investigation. For example, Eduardo Cunha, who led Brazil’s impeachment effort against former President Dilma Rousseff, is now being investigated over allegations that he received $16 million in kickbacks related to the port renovation, which cost the city of Rio over $4 billion.

Rio’s former mayor Eduardo Paes is also being investigated for taking bribes in the port renovation. Despite the scandal, the revitalized area is considered one of the few positive legacies from the Rio Olympics.

The app, which has been downloaded over 2,000 times so far, tells these and other stories through text but also through illustrations, photographs, audio, videos and a map from the 1830s when most of today’s port was still ocean.

“As you start walking along the port area you can actually capture the stories from Rio’s past and put them in a vault,” explained Mariana Simoes, another journalist from Agencia Publica who was part of the team that developed the app.

“You are actually being encouraged to walk and discover the area, discover these elements of our past as you walk through them.” (VOA)


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

Next Story

Hong Kong Protesters use Tinder, Pokemon Go to Spread Messages

Since AirDrop is peer-to-peer, protesters are able to send information directly to mainland tourists travelling to Hong Kong

0

Protesters in Hong Kong are taking to Tinder, Pokemon Go and Apple’s AirDrop to invite people to join them on the streets as the city rolls into its third month of unrest triggered by a now-shelved extradition bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China.

Posting information about protests on Tinder is just one of several creative ways Hongkongers are using tech to mobilize people.

For more than eight weeks now, technology has been at the centre of demonstrations against the extradition bill, the South China Morning Post reported citing Abacus, an English-language news brand covering the China tech industry.

These demonstrations have now evolved into a catch-all movement against the local government and are causing disruptions.

The protesters are now demanding an independent inquiry into the police violence, resignation of the territory’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam and democratic reform.

People primarily communicate through Telegram groups and stream their actions on gaming platform Twitch. But as violence has escalated, protesters are resorting to more unorthodox methods of organizing and communicating online.

One of those methods, apart from Tinder, is Pokemon Go.

When the Hong Kong police earlier denied protesters permission to march in one of the city’s suburban neighbourhoods on safety grounds, the demonstrators decided to say that they weren’t going for a march – they were just showing up for a game of Pokemon Go, said the report.

FILE – A Pokemon Go player consults his phone while walking through the Boston Common outside the Massachusetts Statehouse. The game has introduced players to some aspects of history they otherwise might have missed. VOA

The march in Yuen Long town on July 27 was held in response to violent attacks on protesters during which more than 100 white-clad assailants, with some of those arrested having links to triad gangs, stormed into a train station in the area and attacked a group of pro-democracy protesters who were returning from a rally in the centre of Hong Kong.

Another way protesters are spreading their message is through Apple’s AirDrop.

In the old days, people would walk the streets and distribute leaflets to communicate their political causes. These days, the political messages have moved to the cloud, with images sent directly to recipients’ phones – unsolicited.

On Hong Kong subways, people have been receiving posters inviting them to protest through the service that allows Apple devices to send files to each other. The latest call to action involved a general strike that was held on Monday.

Also Read: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Cashed in Another $990 mn Amazon Shares

The tool has also been used to communicate with tourists from mainland China.

China’s Great Firewall has largely limited reports on the Hong Kong protests to those in line with government views. This includes information found on social media such as Douyin — China’s version of TikTok.

Since AirDrop is peer-to-peer, protesters are able to send information directly to mainland tourists travelling to Hong Kong. (IANS)