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Virtual Reality to activate Perth’s Yagan Square during NAIDOC Week 2019

Virtual Reality to activate Perth’s Yagan Square during NAIDOC Week 2019
July 1, 2019

Produced by Periscope Pictures and animated by Bilbie Creative Labs who acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which this program was produced, Virtual Whadjuk is a free virtual reality event being held at Perth’s Yagan Square as part of NAIDOC Week from 7th to 13th.

The activation is supported by Screenwest, Screen Australia, Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, City of Perth, Western Australian Museum, and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Periscope Pictures is an award winning dynamic Perth-based production company that specialises in creating meaningful, impactful storytelling events, and turning compelling subject matter into engaging and innovative audience experiences across platforms and genres.

Virtual Whadjuk builds on leading Indigenous animation company Bilbie Creative Labs’ innovative concept of stripping away contemporary Australian urban landscapes, creating a portal into an immersive and interactive environment that authentically represents pre-contact, cultural-heritage-enriched space. Bilbie Creative Labs are dedicated to finding innovative ways to preserve and present Indigenous cultures.

The virtual reality activation will allow audiences to experience Whadjuk Noongar culture first hand and see how Boorloo (Perth’s name prior to 1829) was before European settlement.

Audiences will also be immersed in a smoking ceremony, be welcomed to country, and witness the moment European ships arrived. 

Overseen by respected Whadjuk Noongar Elder Barry McGuire in consultation with the Vivienne ‘Binyarn’ Hansen - a Balladong Whadjuk Yorga woman, the project embraces the traditional and contemporary values of the local community, and uses new storytelling technologies to help share and maintain Aboriginal language, knowledge and culture. 

Producer Alice Wolfe of Periscope Pictures commented “yhe interactive activities inside the experience serve to teach new audiences elements of Whadjuk Noongar culture and language and to emotionally connect them to Aboriginal culture in new ways,” says producer Alice Wolfe of Periscope Pictures.

“Virtual Whadjuk seeks to create a profound emotional connection and understanding of how that moment of first contact with Europeans may have been for Aboriginal people.”

Utilising virtual reality technology by Oculus, old maps and historical knowledge from local Elders and biologists has informed the accurate creation of this virtual world. 

Wolfe added “Perth city has been superimposed as wireframes onto the ancient landscape to help place the user and to show the immensity of changes that have occurred."

Thrilled that local audiences will have the opportunity to experience Noongar culture and Perth landscapes through Virtual Whadjuk, Screenwest Chief Executive Willie Rowe stated “the end result is an amazing mix of art and storytelling. 

“The demand for immersive, interactive technologies is growing and we know local and global audiences are fuelling the trend for high quality, meaningful content that suits virtual headsets. In this vein, I’m delighted Virtual Whadjuk is being used to activate Yagan Square during NAIDOC Week 2019.”

Virtual Whadjuk is a free event at Yagan Square from 7th -13th July between 10am to 2pm daily. Suitable for ages 13+. Duration: 10 minutes. Participation by walk-up only – no registration required. 

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