The Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council (WLALC) in the Hunter region has been building their self-funded Murrook Culture Centre over the past years with Derive Architecture & Design. The fundamental objective of Murrook is to act as the beacon of the belief that if one can Experience Murrook, they can Change Forever. WLALC appointed Art of Multimedia to deliver the Interpretive Digital Experience to fulfil their curatorial vision:
We will immerse visitors in a rich visual experience of Worimi people, lands and language. They are invited to sit and engage with our community through filmed personal histories, play and learn as they wander through interactive animated narratives and discover a Port Stephens not yet affected by the impacts of colonial occupation.
The project involved multiple stages:
- Several rounds of WLALC Board, Elders and Community meetings to gather preferences for themes and stories and proposed ideas and options for implementation.
- Archival research to gather interpretive resources and establish appropriate display content via a thematic structure and exhibition narrative specific to Worimi Culture and Place. This stage also included filming personal oral histories.
- Ideation, visual design, experience and interaction design, specification and budgeting of Digital Interpretation Experience, all documented in a plan ready for implementation.
- Implementation, comprising hardware procurement, media production, bespoke multimedia development and project management.
AOM designed, produced and developed the following content and digital exhibits:
- 2 curved walls with 9-metre by 2.4-metre flexible LED screens form a large-scale interactive digital canvas for the Worimi stories.
- 3 sequences of aerial films surround the visitor with the Dunes, the River and the Coast of Worimi Country. As visitors approach the walls, sensors trigger dynamic footage of the same environment filmed at a macro level, increasing this intimate connection to Country.
- ‘The First Worimi’ is an animated Creation Story, narrated by Uncle Graeme Russell and tells the story of the selfless dolphin Guppar.
- An immersive and interactive projection system running real-time 3D graphics using Unreal game engine to feature 5 interactive scenes, each representing a different time of day in the Mullet Run, a key cultural story of the Worimi.
- 14 individual oral history videos and a documentary ‘The Rise of the WLALC’ displayed on 2 interactive Story Pillars.
- A 2.5-metre multi-touch table containing the Worimi photographic collection and additional videos.
- A Welcome Pillar with video messages by Elders and young Worimi in Gathang and English to personally welcome visitors to Murrook, a "Happy Place".
- An audio welcome in Language and English, activating as a visitor approaches the male and female statues at the main entrance.
- Digital signage for reception and outdoor information kiosks.
Working in close partnership with Murrook's newly appointed Museum Gallery Director / Curator, WLALC CEO, Board and community, our frequent collaborators Navin Officer Heritage Consultants and our hardware partner Command Digital.
AOM brought their vision to life through cutting-edge digital interpretation, comprising high-quality large format video and 3D animations, music, songs and soundscapes and authentic storytelling delivered by Community in Gathang and English in an immersive and interactive manner.
A vital feature of the Murrook project is the capacity to add more content to all exhibits and a bespoke multimedia management system that enables the curator to vary the programming and activate temporary exhibitions.
Creating a true partnership with so many Worimi people to convey their culturally significant stories was a real privilege because of the mutually trusting and respectful relationship. Aunty Lorraine Lilley, Worimi Elder & Board Member said at the launch
"We, the Worimi, have not disappeared. We are still here, and we continue to walk on this land today, even though colonisation interrupted our stories and our languages. Both are still very much intact. Our stories are still remembered and shared. This is our journey."
Working with leading-edge software, hardware and experience design provides opportunities for solving multi-disciplinary creative and technical challenges. For our team, being part of the Worimi storytelling journey and adopted into the Community delivered on the WLALC vision of Experience Murrook - Change Forever.
WLALC launched the Murrook Culture Centre in September 2023. Murrook also offers an art gallery, conference centre, cafe, cultural training, nursery and culturally enriched sand dune adventures.
It is a must-visit for anyone interested in an authentic cultural experience and growing their understanding of what it means to be Aboriginal, today.