2020 has marked a serious dampener on Pride festivals, parties and parades around the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic forcing governments to restrict and even ban large public gatherings.
Hundreds of Pride festivals have been postponed or cancelled, keeping in line with government guidelines and protecting the health and safety of the community. Distressed by the situation, creative team Ant Eagle and Claire Gordon-Webster endeavoured to find digital and virtual ways to keep Pride celebrations alive, while adhering to social distancing measures.
In collaboration with Gay Star News (GSN) and Digital Pride, a virtual Pride festival that aims to create a safe space for anyone and everyone wanting to take part in pride celebrations, Ant and Claire engaged with official lens creators for Snapchat such as Clara Bacou to create spectacular, immersive, virtual Digital Pride Floats, in keeping with the spirit of the recent Animal Crossing Pride Parades we recently featured as an example of positive creativity in response to COVID.
“Pride is my favourite time of the year, it’s an amazing platform for expression and creativity. 2020 has seen many challenges but also many creative solutions” says Ant. “Pride is so important to me as a proud gay man, it’s not just a celebration it’s a sense of community and belonging. So to be part of a team that’s created something new and assembles the whole community is awesome. It’s a testament to ‘Love always wins’.”
Each AR Pride float comprises of a face Lens that allows a Snapchatter to transform their face with fun and playful Pride inspired designs (think drag queen makeup or rainbow face paint); flip the camera around and you can place the individual Pride floats into your physical space.
Working with a diverse range of creators, from proud members of the LGBT+ community to fierce allies, each float has a unique story. Clara Bacou, the creator behind the bright and playful Pride Parrot float commented: “Being part of the Pride and Digital Pride floats campaign brings me a lot of joy. The experiences I have had growing up attending this festival are some of my favourite memories.
“I’m so fond of this idea of being able to heighten the love online with AR and lift anyone who may be physically separated from larger communities or festivals to still share who they are and have their moment to celebrate.”
Joshua Keeney, who brought his alter ego Neptune to life in his spectacular, futuristic float, describes the importance of technology for the future of Pride festivals: “[it’s] an opportunity to create not just a Pride that brings people together in the present when we can’t be together – but also a Pride of the future. One that embraces technologies and new mediums for exploring and celebrating identity.”
Released on the 1st of August 2020 to align with when Brighton Pride, globally famous for its spectacular floats and celebrity performances, would have taken place, the Digital Pride Festival Floats aims to bring the playful energy of Pride floats into a digital space. In addition to the floats, Ant and Claire ave also created ‘Sticking with Pride’, a set of over 180 Digital Pride GIPHY stickers, allowing people to express their Pride digitally. Launched over the weekend London Pride would have taken place, the sticker range was massively popular, reaching over 40 million views within the first month.
To experience the floats search ‘DigitalPride Float’ on Snapchat, or open directly via the float snapcodes within the platform.