commissioned by NYU's Development Research Institute, 2016
What if you put 2 economics papers together and made an interactive documentary?
Based on the work of economists Cheikh Anta Babou and Kwee Hui Kian, with additional support from William Easterly and Kellie Leeson.
This project took me from the UN General Assembly room to a desert mosque in Touba, Senegal to a temple in Yangon, Myanmar. In 2016, I conducted ethnographic and media fieldwork in NYC, Senegal, Singapore, and Myanmar - and returned to NYC to assemble an immersive website with its own non-linear interface. The networked storytelling mirrors the very specific migration networks studied: highly successful, decentralized economic networks of trade that transcend the bounds of nation-states.
I am immensely grateful to the generous collaborators I met on the ground in Senegal, Singapore, and Myanmar, as well as those at the Murid Islamic Community in America in Harlem. This project could not have happened without those who contributed their stories and agreed to be photographed.
From my notes: "SOUND WILL RULE." The sound design here, mostly edits of field recordings, is the element that might make this site most immersive - put on your headphones and stay awhile ...
I've created similarly interactive, non-linear web documentaries for other commissions: a history of Greene Street, NYC for NYU's DRI, and an urban history of Poughkeepsie with Morgan O'Hara, Ethan Boote, and support from Columbia University GSAPP and MASS Design Group.