Waltzing Matilda Centre
Client: Winton Shire Council, Queensland, Australia
Arterial was commissioned to design the new Waltzing Matilda Centre exhibition space 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 that 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.
The goal of any interpretive space is to tell stories. How we tell these stories involves capturing the imaginations of the 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.
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.
In developing the experience, the many sounds, stories and visual elements have to be considered, always ensuring the mood, tone and pace of the sensory journey carries people through the whole experience, while keeping them engaged.
Developing the visual and sensory experience was an amazing journey for the Arterial team. Working with the Winton community, and capturing something of the depth and magnitude of the song and its place within Australia’s popular consciousness was the opportunity of a lifetime.
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 it’s 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.
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.
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.
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 the digital mapping and show control system.