MV opens Tyama: nocturnal Country experience
Using interactive digital technology visitors can activate and control night-time worlds, animate spaces and reveal stories as they go, from the perspective of the creatures that share the sky, sea and land. Click here to view video.
Cara Waters, First Peoples storytelling meets Fortnite tech in immersive museum exhibition, The Age, 22 July 2022
The “blob-tracking” technology of gaming phenomenon Fortnite will combine with Indigenous knowledge in Melbourne to create what is believed to be a world first for museums in immersive First Peoples storytelling.
Melbourne Museum’s new exhibition Tyama (pronounced Chah-muh) will enable audiences to activate and control large-scale multimedia projections revealing stories about Victoria’s nocturnal worlds.
Keerray Woorroong woman Dr Vicki Couzens, who collaborated on the project, said the exhibition would give visitors a chance to experience Indigenous ways of seeing, being and doing.
“I hope people are inspired to realise that every rock, insect, plant, person has a place of belonging in nature,” she said. “That being a part of Country is being a part of one great family and we all have a responsibility to care for our family, our Country.”
In Keerray Woorroong language, tyama means “to know”.
Exhibition visitors step into a cocoon structure, emerging into a soaring space where moths dart across giant floor-to-ceiling screens, animated bats scatter at a clap of the hands and a giant whale breaches through the mist.
“In this context, it is for people to come and learn and to know and to embody that learning,” Couzens said.
“To know something, it becomes embodied knowledge and people will experience that and become guardians of Country.”
The exhibition highlights objects from the museum’s collection with the help of technological wizardry using 80 speakers, 47 projectors and some of the biggest screens in the country outside of IMAX.
Tyama joins Lightscape at the Botanic Gardens and Lume at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in using lighting and projections.
A team of 20 animators from local studio S1T2 worked to create Tyama using painterly depictions of the creatures rather than hyper-realism, to give the exhibition an ethereal feeling.
Museums Victoria chief executive Lynley Crosswell said the collaboration was a first in the museums world.
“There’s nowhere else that we know of that is combining traditional presentation of objects with large-scale immersive and interactive digital technology, and traditional knowledge systems and storytelling,” she said.
Crosswell said Tyama could be differentiated from other projected exhibitions because it told a uniquely Victorian story.
“I think people love it because it’s kind of magical, isn’t it?,” she said. “I think it sparks in us the sense of wonder and delight that comes from childhood.”
Tyama opens on Friday, July 22, at the Melbourne Museum.