“Where Whispers Walk is an interactive video installation that responds to the changing landscape of the Brisbane river. Developed through a collaboration between Dennis Kratz (Sarah-Mace Dennis and Svenja Kratz) and Archie Moore, the work uses emerging technologies to ‘imagine’ past, present and future visions of Brisbane’s central waterway.In the work, background imagery takes the form of dream-like animations that cycle through river fictions inspired by different river stories – from the diverse ecologies that flourished there in prehistoric times, to the intricate relationships between people and place that existed prior to European colonization. Then come the boats and their narratives of territorialisation, images of river dredging and river widening, and a city wet with chaos after the floods of 74. But the floods soon fade, exposing versions of a river that has dried into a tired winding path, shadowed by high rises and concrete bridges that surround it on both sides. Is there enough water left to keep carrying the large, machine like boats down stream?
A video camera positioned in close proximity to the projection senses viewers’ movements as they walk through the space, allowing animated characters that are hybrids of natural elements, introduced species and industrial machines to attach to, and follow people’s movements. Fragments of text that tell stories of the river also attach to viewers, with different stories and ideas about the river generated depending on where and how they move in the space. The longer viewers stay in front of the projection, the more complex and layered the stories become.
Where Whispers Walk, explores the possibility that new media offers for re-representing and re-thinking elements of Australia’s past, encouraging those participating in the work to experience and ‘read’ history in new cognitive and perceptual ways. At the centre of the work’s design is the notion of play, with viewers encouraged to play with the narratives and stories they engage in. The process of play engendered by the project gestures toward the notion that all narratives, although generated from a particular perspective, are interpreted and understood from the frame of reference and experience that one brings to them – a viewpoint that can be easily altered depending on where you stand.” – Dennis Kratz & Moore 2007
Where Whispers Walk was an interactive animation developed by Sarah-Mace Dennis, Svenja Kratz and Archie Moore for the InfoZone at the State Library of QLD in 2007.