Artist Dr Christian Thompson approached us to develop an art experience designed to preserve his traditional Bidjara language, a recognised Indigenous lost language.
Using VR, a medium that Christian hadn't worked in previously, we collaborated to craft an emotive visual experience, to compliment the beautiful melancholic soundtrack performed by Christian singing in Bidjara.
Christian wanted to use a location with great significance to him, a creek called The Sixth Mile in Barcaline, western Queensland, to be the environment for this unique experience. We used thousands of reference photos to create a base layer of the environment. Christian's memories and interpretation of his childhood experiences were the guide for the more abstract elements of the scenery.
We decided early on to create an entirely virtual experience rather than film any 360 video. The extra sense of connectedness and immersion into the environment is so essential to the art, and virtual worlds do this in a way that photographed environments aren't capable of.
In Bayi Gardiya (Singing Desert), light represents memory and language, and the evolving landscape represents the cyclical nature of life. In an art piece that is all about memory, we hoped to make something incredibly memorable.