Modern technology and ancient tradition meet with thrilling beauty in the Australian Museum’s Carriberrie, a 360-degree virtual reality experience embracing the Australian continent and Indigenous peoples through dance, song and country. Using 24 stationary cameras, the short documentary film takes the viewer from Sydney Harbour to Far North Queensland, the Norther Territory to the Torres Strait Islands, using vivid colours and aural sensations to create a physical and psychic thrum that could (and for some, does) easily exceed the pleasures of reality.
Tech is increasingly influencing the arts, and like many contemporary issues, categorisations are in flux. So is Carriberrie really a documentary? Does it belong at the Australian Museum? Or is it an avant-garde immersion of the senses better suited to a contemporary art museum? Certainly scholars will be pondering these sorts of issues as the Borg advances, but for now, I don’t much care what the answers might be. Carriberrie is pure wonder, a rich collaboration between filmmakers and performers, the latter singing and dancing stories to mark generations through time. The result is a layered, visceral shock of hyper-awareness in a visual and aural landscape that is at once familiar and remote. Using the emerging technology of VR, Carriberrie travels to a timeless place that exists between reality and dreams. It can be hard to choose between the two.
Carriberrie, part of Weave, the AM’s inaugural month-long Festival of Aboriginal and Pacific Cultures.
Until Mar 27. Australian Museum, 1 William St, Sydney. $16-$20+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.australianmuseum.net.au
By Olga Azar.