Digital Open Winner: A Living Diorama, to Change the World.

Institute for the Future teamed up with Sun Microsystems and Boing Boing Video to co-host the Digital Open, an online tech expo for teens 17 and under around the world.

In today's episode, you'll meet young Ms. Alexis McAdams, whose winning project was a concept for a kind of "living diorama," called "Dioractive." The idea: re-enact current events (say, the floods in the Phillippines, or the internally displaced refugees in Darfur) with human actors, to help people understand and empathize, and feel motivated to change the world.

Alexis told us she found out about the Digital Open by reading Boing Boing, and she's been a fan of our blog for some time (thanks, cool!). She says the idea for "Dioractive" came from varied sources of inspiration: LARPers (folks who do live-action roleplaying games), Civil War re-enactments (the real-life kind), history-based videogames (her brother's into these), and a diorama project she did in third grade. She digs theater, and learning foreign languages. All of this combined into an idea of how to place ourselves into the lives of the "other," and understand in a more personal way just how interconnected we all are.

Read more about the youth competition in IFTF's press release announcing Digital Open winners.


  1. I had dioractive once, but I took some Pepto and it cleared up.

    Nah. This is a cool idea. Move it from the back yard into the public view and you’d open a lot of eyes. I’m picturing a scene with people digging for blood diamonds set up next to Zales.

  2. This vid suffers from the classic telling and not showing. Why wouldn’t they just SHOW some of her work?

  3. How does the dotSUB thing work? Do you already have people transcribing, captioning, or subtitling your videos? Or are you waiting for volunteers to jump in and submit subtitles?

    I uploaded English subtitles to test.

  4. Sounds pretty interesting….

    I can see how history-based video games were inspirational. I’ve seen some interesting simulations with them.

    Hard to think of LARP without thinking of Role Models…

  5. I know her heart’s in the right place, but every time lately someone starts talking “awareness”, I reach for my metaphoric revolver. Why? Because it’s just advertising.

    I’ve seen all kinds of stunts being pulled to “raise awareness” for all kinds of causes, and they all pretty much boil down to “well, if we talk about this enough, maybe the problem will go away”. No matter how clever you are in dressing suitably thin Black and Asian actors in rags, cosmetic clay and dog food, it’s not the same as actual footage of the real thing, and people pretty much change the channel when *that* comes on. A “living newspaper” troupe (which is what this sounds like) would be mostly preaching to the choir on the “unpleasant” news, while gradually being forced to do encores on their “Death of Michael Jackson” or “Tribute to Princess Di” simply to make expenses. That is, unless they would like to pander to voyeuristic spectacles of others’ misery…

    Again, her heart’s in the right place, but I’d like to see that prize going to someone who might actually come up with viable (and I’m not even talking ‘sustainable’, just something that works, preferably quickly) solutions to problems.

  6. Yeah….Great girl, great idea’s, you gotta make something happen in life and she has grabbed the bull by the horns. (my old man used to say you have to ) Make something happen ! so good to see someone so young motivated and sparks flying off her. Go girl, keep it up.

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