Myth and Magic: Art of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea


[Music plays] (Crispin Howarth) Visitors to the National Gallery, to this particular exhibition, Myth and Magic Art of the Sepik River, they are going to see artworks which have never been on public display before. And these are artworks from very exotic, faraway cultures in a remote area of Papua New Guinea. (Clyde D’Rosario) We worked with CSIRO on this opportunity to take this exhibition and do something, something different, especially in the interactive space. We’ve never really done anything like this before. (Matt Adcock) As well as moving our own collections into the digital world, we realised that there’s a large number of galleries and museums around Australia that are realising that there’s this digital economy that they need to be part of. So we’ve been doing a number of projects that help museums move into that space. (Crispin Howarth) It is our role here at the National Gallery to ensure that these works are shown as bright, shining ambassadors of the previous cultures and also as great works of art. (Matt Adcock) We’ve been able to 3D scan the works of art, we can annotate different parts of the 3D scan, so we can deploy that into a touch screen environment, almost with a click of a button, and allow people to investigate those bits of extra information that the curators want the visitors to experience. (Crispin Howarth) With the 3D scanning project, there is an ability there to reveal an extra layer of these static sculptures. (Matt Adcock) The 3D models are able to be rotated, the public can view them from any angle. (Crispin Howarth) It’s also a way to add layers of information beyond the normal small museum label text. You are able to zoom in and see the subtle, dappled area of the woods, and you are able to detect where the objects have been carved with adzes with stone blades, they have been scrapped backward with pigs tusks, and I think that’s fascinating, and we point this out on the 3D scans, it makes people look again. And if the 3D scanning project can help people look at the objects again in a different light, I think it’s really won. (Clyde D’Rosario) The confidence I had in CSIRO to deliver it was high, because I saw what they had done previously. I think they exceeded every one’s expectations, including the curator. (Crispin Howarth) This form of technology has excited me. From a curatorial point of view, I think, 3D scanning is in its infancy and it will become a vital tool within museums. (Clyde D’Rosario) I’ve had nothing but positive responses from everyone, and I’m hoping it will start to change the mindset and the culture of the Organisation to take it in this direction. (Matt Adcock) So looking more broadly, the application for publishing 3D scans is huge. You can look at education, even journalism as other different applications where there’s stories to be told about physical objects. [Music plays]

4 thoughts on “Myth and Magic: Art of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

  1. Big thanks and congratulations to the Myth and Magic team! Fantastic exhibition – the lighting is impeccable and the 3D touch screens are really successful.

  2. Great stuff. Great exhibition too. Hope 3D imaging takes off but not holding my breath. Maybe when software becomes available and volunteers have access to Institutions.

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