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Questacon Enlighten 2023, Acknowledging Country and Culture

By Questacon Media 03 Mar 2023

Our projections showcase our Acknowledgement of Country artwork, which represents a Welcome to Country. Image shows beautiful purples in a dotted style artwork projected onto the side of the Questacon building.

About our 2023 Enlighten projections:

This year’s projections celebrate Questacon’s continued commitment to recognising First Nations people and their connection to Country. Our projections showcase our Acknowledgement of Country artwork, which represents a Welcome to Country and signifies the coming together of people from all walks of life onto Ngunnawal Country. This artwork was created in collaboration with Lynnice Letty Church, a Ngunnawal artist whose connections extend across Ngunnawal, Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi Country on both her mother’s and father’s sides.

Our vision is a better future for all Australians by bringing people from all walks of life together to play, learn and discover science in a fun and engaging way.

This artwork tells that story of Elders, children and communities playing and learning together at Questacon as we connect past, present, and future generations through discovery, shared curiosity and storytelling.

Questacon was given three Ngunnawal words: Binyin – Discover, Wagabaliri – Play and Winanggaay– Learn from Thunderstone Aboriginal Cultural Services. The words were chosen as the best way to describe what a person can do on a visit to Questacon. Our projections take visitors on a journey which explores what these words represent to us.

We are lighting up for Pride weekend at Enlighten. Everyday we celebrate our STEM community of sharing awesome science across Australia. The special 2023 Pride projection was designed by Henry Nguyen, a Kaurna land-based communication designer and illustrator originally from Vietnam.

The artwork is inspired by daily conversations and observation mainly on: gender politics, gender-neutral storytelling, the human-nature relationship, the self and folklores. The projection represents the vibrancy and diversity of LGBTIQA+ communities. Visibility and representation are crucial to one’s equality and these projections will be on display from 10 – 12 March.

At Questacon we are committed to diversity and inclusion and promoting the rich rainbow identity of our STEM community. This World Pride month, we honour queer scientists who've contributed to world-changing advancements throughout history such as Alan Turing, Jemma Redmond, Ben Barres and Sally Ride.

The Process behind our 2023 Enlighten projections:

The process behind creating the 2023 Enlighten Illuminations for Questacon’s building was a large collaboration between many of our teams. Our first step was taken last year, with a group brainstorm on which themes we wanted to highlight. We couldn’t resist the wonderful opportunity to showcase our beautiful Acknowledgement of Country artwork.

The creation of this year’s projection was handled by Questacon’s Design and Digital teams. The Design team began by separating the different layers of our Acknowledgement of Country artwork, to make it ready for animation. Multiple examples of how the artwork might look animated were produced, which were then shown to the artist, Lynnice Letty Church, for consultation. Once a version was chosen, the next challenge for the Design team was figuring out how to have elements of the artwork present at all times during the projection. Their answer to this challenge was pulling lots of the different sized and coloured dots from the artwork and animating them to  float and bounce around the building throughout the projection.

At the same time, the Digital team began collecting, sourcing and compiling relevant high-resolution videos to be part of the display. They focused on videos that would be not only visually impressive at that scale, but also of suitable quality to be scaled to the size needed for our projections Consideration also had to be given to how the video compilation would look on or around the windows on the sides of the building. To visualise how the projections might look, they applied their ideas to a virtual 3D representation of Questacon.

Once the Digital team had finished cutting together their incredible footage, it was passed on to the Design team to add the final finishing touches. From there, the design was  sent to Electric Canvas, who are ultimately responsible for developing the final projections.

We thoroughly enjoyed the process of working with Electric Canvas. They kept the Design and Digital teams aware of any changes or hiccups that arose and worked closely with both teams to create solutions. Throughout their design process, they developed 4 work-in-progress versions of the projection to be reviewed and approved, and were always more than happy to follow our recommendations. The final projection they’ve created is an incredible achievement, which never could have happened without the excellent teamwork between teams at Questacon, and Electric Canvas.