“Breonna’s Garden” app uses augmented reality to honor her memory

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — An app created to honor Breonna Taylor aims to keep alive the memory of the young woman killed by Louisville police during a nighttime raid on her apartment on March 13, 2020.


What do you want to know

  • The creators gave time to create the app
  • Users can leave messages for Breonna Taylor
  • The photos give the impression that she is still alive
  • Application intended to be a safe place to honor his memory

the “Breonna’s Garden” app allows users to see her in augmented reality as if she were still alive. Mary J. Blige’s song “Everything” plays in the app, which Taylor planned to perform at her wedding to boyfriend Kenny Walker.

In augmented reality, Taylor is alive, laughing with loved ones, being hugged by her mother, bouncing around in a car with her cellphone in hand, standing and smiling, her arm draped over her sister’s shoulder. Augmented reality (AR) is an experience where designers enhance parts of users’ physical worlds with computer-generated input. Designers create inputs – ranging from audio to video, graphics to GPS overlays and more – in digital content that reacts in real time to changes in the user’s environment, typically motion.

Development of the project began when Sacramento, Calif.-based digital artist lady phoenix connected with Ju’Niyah Palmer, Breonna’s sister, having felt the need for a safe space online where her family and friends could grieve. After some discussion, it became clear that entire communities needed a place to grieve, with a noticeable lack of accessible and safe spaces. From there, Breonna’s Garden was born.

“We created Breonna’s Garden to honor the life of Breonna Taylor with the intention that it be a peaceful refuge, unencumbered by the weight of the world,” Lady PheOnix said. “Since its conception, Breonna’s Garden has evolved from a healing tool for her family to a healing tool for the nation. It is a sanctuary where his name can be said without denial, and where others can share their own stories of grief without fear of judgment.

The technology allows people in the garden to record messages that can be heard by future visitors, aiming to create a chain of vulnerability and hope.

“We are honored to present an initiative that connects experiences across the universe,” said Lady PheOnix. “Breonna’s garden offers a moment of calm to surrender and let go. Now more than ever, genuine vulnerability is paramount to collective reconciliation.

Sacramento, CA-based digital artist Lady PheOnix created the “Breonna’s Garden” app. (Hijinx Art PR & Management)

Breonna’s Garden is not just a heart-centered offering, but a form of protest, as Lady PheOnix has recognized in crafting this project.

“Breonna died in a world of violence, but she will live in peace surrounded by beautiful memories, butterflies and her favorite things,” she said. The experience honors and incorporates the things that made Breonna smile, choosing to immortalize the love and joy that filled her life. By focusing on positivity and remembrance, Breonna’s Garden combats the flood of overly negative information we see on a daily basis.

The experience was created by a series of artists who donated their time. Australian artist and filmmaker Sutu led the charge with help from Candie Quach, his company EyeJack, a team of volunteers coordinated by Kavya Pearlman, with hardware support and volumetric capture provided by Microsoft and Metastage.

Lady PheOnix said she wanted people to remember Taylor as “someone associated with healing and well-being instead of death, trauma, injustice and destruction”. It’s not fair for her to attach the energy of it all to her name. It’s not who she is. That’s not what she was.

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