Learning Lab, River Connections Experience

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As Native American Heritage month 2022 concludes, we continue to honor the significance of sharing indigenous storytelling and raising awareness to seldom heard stories of indigenous people. This week, we dive into a project called “Learning Lab” and the flagship experience for the space, “River Connections” designed by Grumpy Sailor for the Melbourne Museum.

The team was tasked with creating an innovative and inspiring solution that connects the Museum’s experiences and stories with digital technologies and 21st-century learning. As part of the overall Learning Lab project, Grump Sailor created a flagship media work that immerses students in deep listening, to prepare them for the creative program ahead.

From a storytelling standpoint, it was imperative that the experiences embody the amplification of learning in museums that is underpinned by First Peoples concepts of deep listening. The flagship experience “River Connections” is a bespoke, immersive film that submerges students in First Peoples’ perspectives of the Australian landscape. The film was made in collaboration with First Peoples elders and artists and developed through deep listening sessions and visiting ‘Country.’

It was important that the work reflects the land it depicts. Using photographs captured on Country to model the film subjects, the colors of the lines and points were sampled directly from the recorded pixels. Ambisonic sound recordings captured on Country create a distinct sense of place for users to experience.

From an implementation standpoint, the design team landed on a flexible solution that integrates a wide range of technologies while utilizing floor and wall surfaces for projection spaces. This fluid system allows the museum to easily switch modes to showcase new content and media including options for a single 27-meter infinity projection ability to multiple individual screens.

The “Learning Lab, River Connections” project received an Interactive Experience Honor Award at SEGD 2022 Global Design Awards event hosted at SEGD 2022 Experience Portland.

“This bespoke digital and narrative content has a great rhythm motion and reveals that keep the viewer locked in to see what will happen next. Like a magic show, the animations materialize from the darkness and take the viewer on an immersive journey through history with a fresh lens.”

  • Juror Comments, SEGD GDA 2022