A glowing tree as featured in the VR artwork Bayi Gardiya - courtesy of Nakatomi
A glowing tree as featured in the VR artwork Bayi Gardiya - courtesy of Nakatomi
Image courtesy of Nakatomi
Stories & Ideas

Mon 22 Mar 2021

Singing a world into existence: Christian Thompson's 'Bayi Gardiya' (Singing Desert)

Art Australia Commission First Nations Immersive technologies Preservation Representation
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Experience Christian Thompson singing the landscape of his childhood into existence in this emotive, visually striking VR work which was shown at ACMI in 2019.

In 2017 contemporary artist Dr Christian Thompson AO was awarded the inaugural $80,000 Mordant Family VR Commission. His resulting work, Bayi Gardiya (Singing Desert), invited audiences to walk through the landscape of his childhood, where they witnessed a simple yet profound aesthetic gesture of the artist singing in his traditional Bidjara language, a recognised lost language.

Thompson collaborated with VR/AR developer Nakatomi to craft an emotive visual experience, to compliment the beautiful melancholic soundtrack performed by Thompson singing in Bidjara.

The location in which Bayi Gardiya is performed is a creek called The Sixth Mile in Barcaldine, western Queensland, the place where Thompson grew up.

Experience Bayi Gardiya (Singing Desert)

Bayi Gardiya was created to be seen in a VR headset, which remains the ideal viewing experience, however you can also see the work without a headset via the video above. Click and drag your mouse on the video to look around or use arrow keys.

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