Stephen Barrass , CSIRO, Australia
Session: Technology: Immersive Environments
This paper is a description of a walk-through experience of Aboriginal dance in the Welcome area of the Gallery of First Australians (GFA) at the new National Museum of Australia (NMA). The experience is an immersive multimedia environment with a perceptual user interface that extracts footstep features in real-time from 32 square metres of vibration sensitive carpet. Six network sychronised PC workstations process the footstep features and render the interactive 3D graphics and surround sound effects over six data projectors and thirty speakers mounted in the gallery.
The experience is based on a cycle of six dances that reflect cultures from different parts of the country - a men's dance, a women's dance, a fishing dance, a drumming dance, a rainbow serpent story, and an urban dance. The six dancers are projected life-size onto the walls of the gallery - three on each side. Images from the GFA collection of paintings by aboriginal children are integrated with the dance and music. The image of a snake sculpture from the GFA collections circles the room in the period between dances.
We present the design and outline of the system, experiences gained in developing the software and producing the media, and observations of visitor responses to the installation, some of which will be shown on video at the conference.