Action Aid

Demopatia. A journey in the bowels of democracy

#storytelling    #experience    #animation   


The history of democracy is told in comics by Zerocalcare's pencil in an animated app.

Demopatia is a digital storytelling project for mobile devices that combines documentary with augmented comics, exploring new digital languages.

The Project

The project is a result of the collaboration between Manolo Lupichini, Ivan Giordano, Michele Rech (aka Zerocalcare, one of Italy’s most iconic cartoonists), and ActionAid.

The main narrative arch develops in eight chapters that switch between video reportage and augmented comics.

The alternation of this pair of storytelling styles develops a visual journey starting from earthquake-ravaged villages of Central Italy, featuring Zerocalcare as the main character, partly flesh-and-blood, and partly "avatar" in the comics.

Several unique themes briefly covered in the narrative are then subject to in-depth analysis: interviews with academics, intellectuals, and activists who offer a competent look at the single topics.

The project does not pretend to offer answers but instead wants to stimulate questions that are useful to overcome skepticism and resignation, thus triggering the desire to consciously engage in the dynamics of self-government.


Technical point of view

From a technical point of view, the augmented comic is the dynamic parallax rendering of Zerocalcare comics. We “gave life” to Michele's comics, presenting the user with an interactive sense of depth.

The levels of depth of the vignettes move in sync with the movements of the smartphone. The app uses the device’s gyroscope for an interactive volume rendering in parallax. A further element of dynamism of the comics is provided by the inclusion of gif images that animate some details of the scene and finally, a sound design that distinguishes background musical comments (all original compositions by our Sound Manager Riccardo Cocozza) and soundbites related to specific actions.


Events & Press Release

The “Demopatia” digital storytelling project was presented at the MAXXI Museum in Rome (link).

The project was reported here: