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The Age of the Aboriginal Avatar: reclaiming the sacred in a virtual world
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 13:42 authored by Kevin Lucas
The viability of remote indigenous homelands is threatened. One critical issue is how to provision adequate infrastructure to educate children on their clan estates through a system of traditional and western knowledge exchange known as two-way learning. By reducing the disadvantage of time and distance, new technologies offer solutions that could have a significant impact on this problem. Inter-generational knowledge exchange and digital archiving of intangible heritage are valued practices in these communities. Building on this we ask, "Through what process can a sacred cultural object be situated within the frames ofYolŋuepistemology and Virtual Reality?" Specifically, the investigation seeks to articulate the processes involved in transmediating a hollow-log coffin, known as the Dhälinybuy Ḻarrakitj, and its embodied performative knowledge, into Virtual Reality, as defined by the Milgram and Kishino (1994) mixed-reality spectrum. The cultural and technological frame of the investigation is interdisciplinary. It includes, digital humanities, intangible cultural heritage, performing arts and digital creativity. When Yolŋu culture and Virtual Reality converge, it is, I propose, a SPACETIME phenomenon. i.e., a Socially Performative and Collectively Emergent Transversal, Immersive, Mediated Experience. This conceptual frame identifies two overarching processes that define a SPACETIME event; its creation, and its reception. Research outputs include VR prototype.