The immersive exhibition “War Up Close” in the French city of Rennes

From November 17 to 19, the “War Up Close” team once again presented a virtual war museum in Europe.

The exhibition took place at the cultural center Les Champs Libres in the French city of Rennes, Brittany. The exposition consisted of three zones:

Oculus Zone, where visitors could use VR goggles to view videos of Ukrainian territories before the full-scale invasion by Russia and after February 24, 2022. We showcased the destroyed objects of civil infrastructure and cultural heritage in the Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Chernihiv regions as evidence that Russia disregards any human or cultural values.

Donations Zone, where collectible Ukrainian coins, military art photos, bracelets, and badges were also presented. The main exhibit was a football found in Bucha (Kyiv region) on the site of a destroyed private house where the “War Up Close” team conducted digitization in the fall of 2022. In this zone, cardboard VR goggles were also placed, allowing users to visit 16 locations of destruction in the Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Sumy, and Zaporizhia regions through online mode on their phones. Users could also see the destroyed equipment, cultural and civil objects (churches, schools, museums, libraries), and even explore what the Russians left from the world’s largest cargo plane, the Antonov An-225 “Mriya,” in 360° mode.

Artifacts Zone of the Russian army. All these items are a material embodiment of the evil, horror, and pain that Russia brought to our country. It was symbolic that a St. George ribbon was attached to the blood-stained body armor of a Russian military member. All exhibits, from personal belongings of Russian army soldiers to fragments of rockets, mines, and strike drones, were found either in de-occupied territories or directly on the front line by our defenders.

The project was created in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, the National Museum of the History of Ukraine – NMIU, and presented with the support of Solidarité Bretagne-Ukraine and Les Champs Libres.

It is worth noting that this is not the first “War Up Close” exhibition in France. In February, on the anniversary of the invasion, we presented the project in Paris.