Ron Richards, oil painting © Miriam Cabello 2011. From series “White Rope” – A History of Australian Aboriginal Boxers. I’m currently painting Lionel Rose.
With the passing of Lionel Rose I wanted to address an amazing project that converged Indigenous art, oral history, spirituality and new media. The work conducted by Wyeld , T. & Leavy, B. (2008) is a exciting learning experience. Their research and paper addresses the impact of modern life on Aboriginal culture and how it is eroding the continuum of knowledge. Outlined is a storytelling project that encompasses technology with the works of Vincent Serico (1949–2008), artist, activist and humanist. A group of researchers and CyberDreaming collaborated with Vincent to develop a 3D computer game toolkit with the goal of bridging the culture disconnect in younger generations.
Born in southern Queensland in Wakka Wakka/Kabi Kabi Country (Carnarvon Gorge region) Vincent was a member of the Stolen Generations. He eventually returned to his Country and started painting his stories as well as the oral histories of his land. The 3D game has:
Embedded in this simulation of his Country, in the locations that their stories speak to, are some of Vincent’s important contemporary art works. They are accompanied by a narration of Vincent’s oral history about the places, people and events depicted.
Oral history and the interconnectedness of spiritual mapping in Vincent’s art highlight the virtual world of spirituality and that of new media. The paintings act as the narrators for the topological navigational features in the game. Discovery, knowledge and organic thinking are all rewards of the game but transgressive activities are discouraged. It was imperative that certain sacred sites be respected and can only be accessed by paying due respect to traditional customs. Further connecting the tangible world with the virtual and spiritual. The game was developed as a tool for younger generations to reconnect with Country and culture in modern times. This project is an exemplary model of fusing spiritual, oral and cultural knowledge with new technology. It also opens avenues of further development. How has the project added to the greater cultural exchange and can other applications of new media be used to amplify its message?
Wyeld , T. & Leavy, B. (2008). Reaching out to a younger generation using a 3d computer game for storytelling: Vincent Serico’s legacy. Australian Aboriginal Studies, Iss 2 p43-53
Buchtmann, L. (2000). Digital songlines: The use of modern communication technology by an Aboriginal community in remote Australia, Prometheus, (18):1.
van Dijk, J. & Hacker, K. (2003). The digital divide as a complex and dynamic phenomenon. The Information Society, 19 (4). pp. 315-326. Taylor & Francis Inc.
Ginsburg, F. (1994). Embedded Aesthetics: creating a discursive space for Indigenous media: Cultural Anthropology 9(3): 365-382.
Miller, S., Blacklock, F. & Wilson-Miller, J. (2002). Bayagul :contemporary indigenous