How can extended reality technologies ‘awaken’ the untold stories and generational knowledge of Australia’s First Nations people? Genevieve Grieves, exhibition curator and Melbourne Museum’s Director of First Peoples, had an overarching vision for Awaken that focused on inclusion and community. Our challenge was to find the best way to showcase that vision by using our expertise in exhibition design and extended reality.
With help from The Mulka Project and representatives of the remote communities, we captured 360º audio-visuals of the landscapes where Thomson originally sourced the belongings. Working closely with the University’s Faculty of Arts along with the Digitisation Centre and NExT Lab, we explored various approaches to the 3D scanning of the belongings. Virtual reality and Oculus Go headsets transported visitors to the far-flung reaches of the Northern Territory and Queensland where they could see and hear the belongings in their remote environments.
We created a context-based virtual reality museum experience that used film, video, audio, AR, VR and 3D technologies to synchronise time and place, sound and vision, awakening old and new connections between the belongings, the communities, the country, and museum visitors. A technically and culturally complex project, we collaborated closely with stakeholders including institutions, museums, remote communities and technicians. The success of the project was ultimately delivered by this diverse group of participants coming together, often virtually over vast distances, to contribute their skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to realise the exhibition’s goals.