Uncensored Library Banned Journalism Housed In Virtual Minecraft Architecture

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When schools prohibit books, the approach often backfires on would-be censors which leads to increased curiosity about illicit literature. Reporters Without Borders, a organization that promotes the visibility of media that are censored by governments, leads efforts to make these materials more prominent. Their Uncensored Library project brings together architecture and journalism in a surprisingly virtual reality space: the interactive gaming world of Minecraft.



On the surface, Minecraft is a game of collaborative construction and its low-res appearance may not be conducive to elements like: reading articles or even complete books within the game. There are "items" in Minecraft that can be used to create books with an unlimited number of pages. These "books" can be translated by the creators to make them readable and easy to download. The books are then organized in virtual space and arranged in "chests".



The idea, in part, is to work around normally filtered channels. Reporters Without Borders has had some success with this method, such as the audio-centric Uncensored Playlist. It bypassed the censors and operated via music streaming services. In the Uncensored Library, the spatial design helps users find the information they need and also permits other kinds of interaction and creation as well, such as a memorial to murdered journalists that is housed within the library's walls.



"The style is Classical and formal, the type of architecture that you'd find in the British Museum and New York Public Library," says the project's lead James Delaney of Blockworks. "That was intentional, since governments use this architectural style to reinforce their positions of authority." Blockworks James Delaney, the project lead, says that the design team "wanted the style to be turned on its head." Yes, we're using this formalistic and authoritarian style, but instead it's stuffed with free information."



"The criteria for inclusion are handled by Reporters Without Borders, which assures that the library's information is truthful, accurate, and sensitive," reports Cian Mahar. It seems to be working: the library receives regular visitors from countries where information is not more than free, such as Russia, Egypt, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam.



Flags and maps decorate the interior of the library's design and highlight areas where censorship is more pronounced and aiding in the virtual directions within the stacks. The design choices are created to appeal to younger users who are familiar with Minecraft and to help them learn about information suppression. This isn't a subject that all countries can accept. Some are trying to shut down the main server. However, as with all things on the internet, once the cat (gif) is removed from the bag, the game is over. Anyone can download and transfer the entire library to a different server at anytime.



The Uncensored Library website states: "In many countries, websites social media, social media, and blogs are controlled or censored by oppressive authorities. Particularly, young people are forced to become part of systems in which their opinions are frequently manipulated by disinformation campaigns of the government. Even though the majority of media is controlled or blocked the world's most popular computer game is still played.