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Rampvlucht: a digital reconstruction of the crash of El Al flight 1862 for KRO-NCRV

To commemorate the 30th year since the crash of El Al Flight 186, Dutch broadcaster KRO-NCRV commissioned us to create an interactive online experience as part of their multimedia memorial; a five-part drama series Rampvlucht, a documentary and a podcast. Exploring the chain of destruction caused when El Al Flight 1862 tragically crashed into an apartment building in Amsterdam’s Bijlmermeer in 1992, we created a digital reconstruction of the event that leads users through the unresolved mystery, raising more questions than it answers.

The story unfolds in four acts across an atmospheric 3D environment where the spatial environment becomes the central character, embedded with archival material that act as fragments of the complex narrative. Rather than using it to present a linear reconstruction of events, each scene treats the archival material in a different way, involving the user in meaning-making and drawing attention to how history is constructed.

Users begin their journey in 1992 in “The Hangar” at sunset, where a cinematic zoom reveals the plane before its journey inviting us to learn about the flight. The disaster plays out without images — through an enigmatic audio clip from air traffic control — before the second act “The Crash” takes us back to the hangar, which has now become a rust-hued landscape littered with evidence. In the wake of the accident, users are confronted by piles of unsorted debris; a mass of mysterious objects that they can interact with to unlock archival news footage and audio clips that grapple to tell the story to the public in the immediate aftermath of the event.

Act three “The Investigation” takes us behind-the-scenes to a dimly-lit, cavernous archive, lined with never-ending shelves of documents which now neatly hold the stacks of evidence and many hypotheses produced during the seven years following the incident. Journeying through the archival material and artefacts, users can try to piece together the many attempts at making sense of the mysterious tragedy themselves.

Towards the end of this space, the documentation becomes more abstract and disordered alluding to the lack of hard evidence for some of the theories relating to the crash. The final act “The Trial” takes place in an eerie, dreamlike rendition of the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch senate located in The Hague. Giant curtains reveal clips from the trial as well as the disappointed reactions it elicited from victims. The experience ends in a spiral-shaped vortex, gesturing to the inconclusiveness of the investigation.

KRO-NCRV (Dutch Television)
Creative Direction, Art Direction, 3D Stylist, Virtual Set Design, Software Development, Interface Design

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