Immersive Film Installation
"Beautiful, fluid, immersive and mesmerising. [...] Thoughtful, considered, collaborative work with a lovely finish. Simply stunning."
River Connections is an immersive film installation that submerges viewers in First Peoples’ perspectives of Country.
The project was made in collaboration with Museums Victoria and First Peoples Elders and artists Larry Walsh, Esther Kirby, Brendan Kennedy and Consultant Curator, Genevieve Grieves. It serves as part of Melbourne Museum's new innovative Learning Lab for school-age students, who experience the film and discuss its themes as part of programmed workshops. Each scene, image and sound, as well as the overall structure, was developed through deep listening sessions and visiting Country.
The Murray River, a central subject of the film, is a controversial site of ecological, cultural and economic importance, through which the film explores ideas of sustainability. A central theme of the film is the connection of all things - a concept that Larry, Esther, Brendan and Genevieve regularly brought to the surface. This motif is visualised with flowing lines that depict ever-changing subjects morphing from one form into another.
Great care was taken to ensure the work is a reflection of the lands it depicts. The film's subjects were modelled on photographs captured on Country, while the film's colours were sampled directly from the recorded pixels. Likewise, the ambisonic sound recordings that feature in the film were also captured on Country, creating a work that feels distinctly ‘of place’.
The 5-minute digital animation was created for a bespoke infinity-projection space in Melbourne Museum that we designed and engineered. The 27-meter wide projecion surface spans three walls and the floor, with a resolution of over 10k in width, realised using 8 projectors and a custom 14-channel speaker arrangement.
3D Animator: Matt Tillman
Sound Designer & Music Composer: Brendan Woithe - Klang
First Peoples Group: Aunty Esther Kirby, Uncle Brendan Kennedy, Uncle Larry Walsh and Genevieve Grieves
Producer: Matt Roberts
Technical Director: Tom Siddall
Executive Producer: Mark Shunji Davies
Digital Design Studio: Grumpy Sailor
Studio Principals: James Boyce, Claire Evans
Vocalists: Jess Hitchcock and Sarah Belkner
Spoken Voice: Aunty Esther Kirby
Music Recordings at Klang (Sydney) and Electric Dreams (Melbourne)
Storyboard Artist: Xavier Irvine
Digital Education Experiences, Museums Victoria: Bridget Hanna
Senior Curator, Science Exhibitions, Museums Victoria: Kate Phillips
Technical Manager, Museums Victoria: Tom Kojrowicz
Program Coordinator, Life Sciences, Museums Victoria: Rebecca Bates
Project Manager, Museums Victoria: Luke Flanagan