Melbourne interactive experience explores connection to country

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Players may visit areas throughout the City of Port Phillip through new eyes in an urban experience that mixes art, augmented reality, music, and narration.

As part of the 64 Ways of Being App, gamers can go on a self-guided trip through streets, walking trails, and beachside to explore digital artworks and the neighbourhood’s rich Indigenous histories.

The Indigenous-led cross-cultural walking and listening experience is part of the Yulendj Kummargi (Rising Knowledge Project), which integrates Boon Wurrung knowledge about caring for Country with western tools for regenerative living and working.

N’arweet Carolyn, a trailblazing cultural ambassador who is both an Indigenous custodian and an urban citizen, contributed her extensive knowledge of location to the project.

“I’ve become interested in urban play as a way of connecting knowledge to place again. Augmented reality is a tool to give a voice to living country, healing country. It’s about memory, language, and waterways and connecting people back to these. To bring people back to the lived experience, connection with place. Land is a living entity. Water is the lifeblood,” Briggs said.

N’arweet’s stories, wisdom, and views on the Yalukit Willam clan of the Boon Wurrung are interlaced with artworks created in partnership with artist Jarra Karalinar and musician Allara Briggs-Pattison.

“I developed traditional Kulin patterns through the lens of Blak Futurism, exploring my lived experiences growing up in Melbourne and living on country surrounded by culture with knowledge passed down through my family and Elders,” Steel stated.

Steel added that using augmented reality to embed modern cultural visual language directly into the urban landscape is a powerful approach to reclaiming space and belonging through visual narrative.

Dr Troy Innocent, the experience’s primary game designer, stated that the project allowed him to get a deeper grasp of relating information to place.

“This collaboration has allowed me to share my knowledge and experience in game design and to work more intensively with N’arweet and learn from her expertise and experience in connecting knowledge to place – her way of being in the world is always contextual, situated and locative,” Innocent said.

Innocent stated that he saw a learning opportunity and a chance for knowledge translation, a method to share Boon Wurrung knowledge through a place-based experience.

The journey has begun and starts at the Ngargee Tree in St Kilda.

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