CHRIS BARKER

 

DIGITAL SONGLINES

Digital Songlines was a ambitious game project that was part of the Australasian CRC for Interaction Design that was directed and spearheaded by the wonderful indigenous digital wonderkind Brett Levy.  The project took a 100square kilometer slice of Carnarvon Gorge in Central Queensland, digitized it and populated it with digital replicas of plants, rocks, grasses and trees as well as animated representations of traditional indigenous ways of knowing, language, ritual and life.  This project was the forerunner of Brett's further "Irene's Story", as well as being the first Indigenous Game made in Australia.  A fantastic range of artists, designers, programmers, consultants and engineers were involved with the project: Jodie Carroll, Stephan Gard, Theodor Wyeld, James Hills, Jeff Jones.

The project innovated a consultative development cycle involving remote and urban indigenous peoples around Australia using the 3D game engine as a storytelling vehicle. As well as being an ambitious creative work in its own right, pushing available technologies to the limit, the project also required the development of  protocols, methodologies and toolkits to facilitate the collection, education and sharing of Australian indigenous cultural heritage. It explores the areas of effective recording, content management and virtual reality delivery capabilities that are culturally sensitive and it involves indigenous custodians, leaders and communities from around Australia. It investigates how players, in a serious gaming sense, can experience indigenous virtual heritage in a high fidelity fashion with culturally appropriate interface tools.

- Theodor Weld