Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bridge of HMAS Brisbane at the Australian War Memorial.

The bridge from the warship HMAS Brisbane has been installed as a multimedia display at the Australian War Memorial. Unlike other exhibits at the memorial, which are hopused in the building which you can walk around, this now forms part of the building and you walk inside it.

The bridge is about the size of a two story house and has been attached by a walkway to the back of the new "Conflicts 1945 to today" gallery. You walk up a metal stairway, much like on a ship and onto the bridge. At this point you have actually stepped out of the building, but this is not apparent, as the windows of the bridge have been blacked out. The six windows immediately in front have been covered with large LCD screens and play two videos, reenacting operations of the ship off the coast of Vietnam and in the Persian Gulf.

The video displays are a little ghostly: they show the sea and sky, as it would appear out of the windows of the ship, with the crew reflected in them. This is a clever ides, but the images of the crew are indistinct. The LCD monitors used are a bit too big and do not fit in the space of the bridge windows, partly spoiling the effect (smaller LCD displays could be used). Also the bridge is so dark is it difficult to see anything (and dangerous for elderly visitors).

The AWM might want to change the presentation so it starts with the view of the sea and then introduces the images of the crew, gradually fading out the sea. At the end of the presentation, they could be faded out and the sea reappear.

More floor level lighting could be used (from LED strips), to help visitors, particularaly the ederly.

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