‘Where Memories Sleep’ is a metaphoric narrative, a legend from our own future, that functions as the central creative driver of a trans-media campaign designed to engage new audiences with Antarctica and the science being undertaken at Scott Base. It is targeted toward the general public and although inclusive of all age groups, it is primarily tailored to appeal to millennials as a key demographic Antarctica New Zealand struggles to engage. The goal is attitudinal change rather than behavioural with no immediate action asked of the audience.
The project employs a ‘Trojan Horse’ strategy to initially engage the audience. At face value, the narrative is pure entertainment, following a familiar ‘heroes journey’ structure but beneath the core legend is a parallel non-fiction narrative expressing the current scientific activity in Antarctica. This ‘story behind the story’ is revealed through a variety of techniques depending on the medium used in any given instance including the strategic leveraging of mainstream media.
‘Where Memories Sleep’ is designed to be reinterpreted across a variety of media as an ongoing project over the next few years. The first manifestation is a seven minute video, with accompanying ‘making of’ documentary video, both created primarily for online distribution. In this initial cinematic format, the story is told through a combination of dance and visual effects.
In this video interpretation of the legend, a young woman called Si (representing current-day scientists), is transported from a parking building (representing our fossil-fuelled lifestyle and urban infrastructure), through a surreal dreamlike sequence to a stylised Antarctic landscape. There she meets an ancient Kuia who gifts her the memories of the world (ice cores) so she may learn, return and lead the battle against climate change. But before she leaves to return home she meets, and falls in love with, the Kuia’s son, Hira (a Wedded Seal). Despite their passion, Si leaves but promises to return each summer. The heartbroken Hira sings a song for his love so beautiful that it lights up the winter darkness (the Aurora Australis) until she returns.
Future outputs may include VR, portable kiosk instillation, full dome projection and a live performance dance/AV piece.
This project was inspired by a three week residency at Scott Base courtesy of Antarctica New Zealand, with my collaborator, musician Warren Maxwell.