Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Painting by Rover Thomas and Multimedia at National Museum of Australia

The National Museum of Australia's Yiwarra Kuju Exhibition features paintings from the Canning Stock Route collection, including Rover Thomas. It also has an 8 metre interactive multimedia display and online Education kit for schools. The exhibition in Canberra is free and is on until 26 January 2011.

The exhibition was not well attended, when I visited on Sunday, perhaps due to the uninspiring English title "The Canning Stock Route", making it sound like a display of agricultural equipment, not an internationally significant art exhibition.

The 8 metre long multi-touch multimedia display is a remarkable achievement. About 14 large format flat screens are arranged horizontally as a desktop surface. The screens display a map of the stock route and viewers can touch icons to display images and videos. In addition they can draw in the virtual sand depicted on the surface as virtual ants crawl around. Dozens of people can interact with the display at once, using it from either side (each end of each wide format screen is designed to be used from either side). There is a rack of Dell PCs in a cabinet at the end of the display to drive the system.

This is the most carefully designed computer museum display I have seen and deserves to win an international award. It manages to be impressive, without distracting from the traditional art around it. There will be a forum about the display and the role of such technology in museums, 26 August.

Hands-on demonstration and debate
The future of museum multimedia

Meet the creators of the impressive 8-metre multimedia display in the Yiwarra Kuju exhibition. See behind the scenes, discuss the interpretation and debate whether multimedia is the way of the future for museums. Supported by Museums Australia (ACT Branch).
Bookings essential. Telephone (02) 6208 5021 or email bookings@nma.gov.au.
Thursday 26 August
Meet at the Information Desk

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