Virtual culture

• Iziah Hayward take a visitor through the virtual experience. Photo by Daniel Grant.

• How the scene looks through the goggles.

MORE Noongar culture is coming to Northbridge this weekend, at least virtually.

Perth film production company Periscope Pictures has crafted a virtual reality experience “Virtual Whadjuk,” sending a viewer back in time to see the natural landscape along the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River) and interact with the original people.

It builds off a concept by “indigenous digital heritage” specialist Brett Leavy, a Kooma man from south-west Queensland who developed the technique of using technology to strip away the urban landscape and present indigenous cultures.

For added local authenticity, Periscope brought in Whadjuk leader Barry McGuire, an ancestor of Yagan, and Vivienne ‘Binyarn’ Hansen, a Balladong Whadjuk expert on traditional medicine.

Viewers watch a smoking ceremony, are Welcomed to Country, and then see the moment European ships arrive, and a wireframe of the current cityscape shows the buildings that went up over the next 190 years.

The project won a $31,000 arts grant from Perth council in November last year, being recognised for celebrating Aboriginal culture and bringing in Aboriginal people to put it together (that gave it so many extra credit points it scored 36 out of 35 on the council’s assessment of grant-worthy ideas).

Virtual Whadjuk had its first run at Yagan Square in July and is now back at the Northbridge Piazza (corner James and Lake Street) from September 28 to 30, 10am to 2pm, and it’s free.

There might be more screenings coming up, with dates to be added at virtualwhadjuk.com.au

by DAVID BELL

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