The Billabong

The Billabong

MEDIA RELEASE
For Immediate Release

Arterial Design’s new exhibit combines storytelling and technology in a world-first museum experience.

Today, Arterial Design unveiled their latest museum exhibition design, the new Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton, Queensland.

Destroyed by fire in 2015, the original Waltzing Matilda Centre was a cultural beacon of the Winton community, with literally thousands of artefacts and stories which showcased not only the essence of the song, but the people themselves. 

The new centre takes visitors on a journey, immersing them in an experience that is layered with content and perspectives from diverse sources within the community. The result is a multi-sensory experience, told through the richness of film, interaction with artefacts, sounds and audio clips.

Sitting as the centrepiece of the visitor experience is the Billabong, a cutting-edge innovative art installation. This multi-sensory experience is the next wave of museum interpretation, and the Arterial Design team is excited to be at the forefront of this.

Authentic, innovative, collaborative and culturally rich, the Billabong gives the audience an experience of natural phenomenons that occur in the landscape. Events that are phenomenal, although rare, and portray the essence of the Waltzing Matilda country and the inspiration for the writing of the song.

“The goal of any interpretive space is to tell stories. How we tell these stories involves capturing the imaginations of our audience and transforming their understanding of people and place. By creating an experience that is totally immersive, we are able to take the visitor on a journey that excites their senses and tells stories in a very evocative way. This multi-sensory experience is the next wave of museum interpretation, and the Arterial Design team is excited to be at the forefront of this,” said Creative Director Jan Nowell.

Dominating the Centre’s exhibition space, the Billabong experience is encapsulated by a silicone rod curtain. The curtain captures the light and animated graphics inside and out, from eight large projectors.  It is a storytelling space that holds the ghosts of the past echoing the illusive story of the song and its resonance in Australia’s cultural history.

The Billabong also tells stories of natural phenomenons, hidden mysteries within Winton's ancient landscape; stories of drought, torrential rains, the formation of Opals captured in ancient storytelling traditions, and the poetic choreography of The Flock filling the sky and descending with dramatic elegance onto the earth in search of food.

“Throughout their journey, visitors may not experience all stories - it really depends on how much time they choose to spend in the space - although offering different experiences to each visitor creates intrigue and discussion of each visitor experience, and hopefully people will feel inspired to return,” said Ms Nowell.

“The exhibit's size, unique form, materiality, story and content, required a unique digital mapping solution, taking this technology to the absolute limit of what it can do. These elements working together combine technology and storytelling, creating a world-first in the museum and attraction space,” said Arterial Design Project Manager, Nick Lawson.

The four-meter high Billabong captures a sense of place.  The authenticity of the experience is strengthened by real events and anecdotes shared by the community. The sound composition is made up of ambient recordings taken from the local landscape.

“Developing the visual and sensory experience has been amazing,” said Ms Nowell. “It’s been an opportunity of a lifetime working with the Winton community, and I hope very much that we have done justice to their stories and captured something of the depth and magnitude of the song and it’s place within Australia’s popular consciousness.

"There are so many sounds, stories and visual elements, and it’s about ensuring that the mood, tone and pace of the sensory journey carries people through the whole experience and keeps them engaged."

Arterial’s full team of multi-talented, in-house designers worked together with collaborators to realise the final result, including specialists in motion graphics, sound, film, project management, construction, audio-visuals, animation, exhibition design, industrial design, lighting design and an IT show control system that brings it all together in perfect sequencing and harmony.

The challenge of the exhibition design was to honour the history of the original museum (destroyed by fire in 2015) and its much loved collection of objects and artefacts, while creating a world-class exhibition that would attract visitors from around Australia and overseas.

“After their visit, I hope that when people listen to ‘Waltzing Matilda’, they think of Winton – the place, its people and the incredible spirit of survival that is deeply embedded within the song,” said Ms Nowell.

“We feel confident that the new Waltzing Matilda experience will excite and delight its audiences and bring people from far and wide to the is great town of Winton.”

The Waltzing Matilda Centre opens 20 April 2018.

Arterial wishes to acknowledge The Sequence Group for their stunning response to our stories through the creation of motion graphics, Sonar Sound for the sound design and Dean Stevenson for digital mapping and show control system.

Arterial is a Melbourne-based experience and museum design company. Focusing on the design and implementation of visitor experiences for urban environments, environmental and cultural sectors.

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For more information, please contact:
Gabriella Iacuone
0413 327 126 - [email protected]

Arterial Design

Arterial is a Melbourne-based experience and museum design company. Focusing on the design and implementation of visitor experiences for urban environments, environmental and cultural sectors, Arterial’s projects include wayfinding strategies and signage, place making, public art, interpretive signage, museum and zoo exhibits, memorials, as well as children’s playgrounds. www.arterialdesign.com.au

Waltzing Matilda Centre

Winton's Waltzing Matilda Centre tells the story of Waltzing Matilda, Winton, and the Outback region. www.matildacentre.com.au