US – Visitors to this year’s SXSW are invited to experience a transformative VR experience honouring the life of Breonna Taylor, a young woman killed by police in 2020. Built in collaboration with her family, Breonna’s Garden is a piece that harnesses the power of technology to foster a space for collective grief and healing.
Artist Lady Pheønix initially developed the project in 2021 for Breonna’s family after learning that her sister Ju’Niyah Palmer’s public grief was met with death threats. Originally intended as a safe space for the family to grieve without facing a hateful backlash, Lady Pheønix has expanded the project for public communal healing.
The SXSW iteration includes a fully immersive VR experience of Breonna’s family home where visitors will see her portrait, hear stories about her life and can read supportive letters. It aims to achieve justice for Breonna through collective healing. ‘Now, more than ever, authentic vulnerability feels paramount to collective reconciliation,' reads a press statement about the project.
Breonna’s Garden signifies the confluence of developments we explored in Virtual Sanctuaries and the Digital Afterlife Market, demonstrating how storytelling, data, AR and VR will reshape the way we mourn and understand death.
The potential of immersive technology expands far beyond entertainment. How can your brand use these tools thoughtfully for healing and justice?