Creature PostUnder the Tanoa
Submission # 205
Motion – Kori
Identity – People & Culture
Identity – Place
Auckland, Tāmaki Makaurau
In 2018 Creature Post were approached by the Auckland War Memorial Museum to collaborate with mana whenua on a very special permanent projection mapped installation, as they embarked on a multimillion dollar redevelopment of the Museum’s south atrium and its key visitor entrance. The centrepiece of the South Atrium space is Talitali ‘Au Moana, the tanoa. This is an impression of a Fijian kava bowl by architect Noel Lane, and its name was a gift from the Museum's Pacific Advisory Group. A tanoa is the point around which people gather to converse during a talanoa, and its heroic tanoa encourages that same kind of engagement. As visitor’s enter the space they are invited to stand beneath it and observe Under the Tanoa, an experience created in collaboration with the three mana whenua iwi represented in the Museum's Taumata-ā-Iwi that tells their stories of arrival and place. Working with Kaumatua from Ngati Whatua, Ngati Paoa and Waikato Tanui, the brief was to design 3 x 6 min projection mapped animations, utilising the back ‘fins’ and circular floor plane directly under the tanoa, and above the mauri stone buried beneath its foundations. The stories play every hour, every day as a key feature of the space, a welcome, a history and acknowledgement of the stories of the people of the land.
The Tanoa is directly in front of the visitor as they enter into the atrium. The intention of the work was to tell 3 unique stories of Iwi, of people and of their place in Tamaki Makaurau. For the installation to be warm, welcoming and engaging, and informative of the history and stories of Maori who whakapapa to Tamaki. The projections needed to be bespoke, unique and truthful to each individual Iwi in the audio visual installation, representing core storytelling, designs and waiata, whilst working with the architecture of the atrium space. To both entertain and inform visitors from 5 – 65 years old, whether they be an international or national tourist, a school student, or a whanau member of Iwi.
Much of the information was supplied aurally, along with design and kowhaiwhai patterning reference, additional illustrations from Iwi artists and bespoke karakia, waiata and taonga puoro recordings were hugely integral in the design process. Animations were built and shared regularly with Kaumatua to ensure the content, tone, historical and design information were correct and in an individual approach for each Iwi, and relatable for all visitors to the space. Having no Reo speakers in our team, translation of concepts was both a privilege, and a challenge at times. Natural day light pollution, equipment and space, wood curves and texture, carpet texture and colour under the tanoa all came into consideration when creating the unique animations for projection in the space. We chose 3 animation styles that not only reflected kowhaiwhai, design and colour palette for each Iwi, but was also sympathetic to projection mapping, with high contrast, and line work to make the projections engaging and vivid in a space not necessarily designed for light projections. We also worked with the fins and floor in unison to tell the stories, and added moments of delight such as whai and hammerhead sharks swimming through the ground plane. A huge hit with children and adults alike. Our 3 x 6 minute animations are hugely engaging and have received wonderful positive feedback from both the Museum and visitors. Most rewarding was the real joy and personal feedback given by Iwi whanau, seeing their animated stories reflected back for all as a centre piece, Under the Tanoa. https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/your-museum/south-atrium/tanoa
"Well-integrated Te Ao Maori storytelling within a digital medium"
"There cannot be any more of an appropriate welcome into a museum than three historic stories that are told through captivating moving artwork.
The space that's been converted into a theatre in simple terms, must be a powerful experience with the surrounding culturally inspired design. Particularly the strong female voice, singing in the video. What resonates with me the most is the use of the environment that surrounds the visitors, to make it immersive for full engagement. What's very impressive is that most of the information told was aurally, therefore the designer had to use their own visual interpretation to tell a story that's been passed down for many years. An intimidating task that was successfully done."
"It’s great to see animation medium being used beyond the TV and mobile screens."
"It is a big responsibility to be entrusted with designing a greeting piece of a cultural and touristic landmark such as the Auckland Museum.
The final output takes into account the specificities of the site (architecture and light) and the involvement of different iwis to ensure the accuracy of the storytelling."
Credits & Collaborators: Creative Director - Lakshman Anandanayagam Motion Design - Patrick Killeen Audio Design - Liquid Studios, Daniel Nathan Artist - Graham Tipene Teacher/Tutor - Taiaha Hawke, Ataahua Papa, Lorna Rikihana, Kaihoro Te Rangitākuku
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