“The New Zealand wild is losing its voice. Forests once filled with the sound of birdsong are now silent, the inhabitants driven out by a steady stream of predators they cannot defend themselves from. The TweetMe Installation offers visitors an opportunity for the public to experience the New Zealand forest, and explore issues of ecology and conservation.
There are two components to the installation- the day and night cycle of forest life, projected into a collection of native trees, and the stories of the wildlife, which are activated by interaction with forest visitors. But beware the rats and possums lurking in the shadows.”
The TweetMe installation was commissioned as a prototype exploration into the potential of tangible activated narrative within an installation context. The project was developed in response to a DOC wild creations residency as a potential educational tool to engage the public into ecological preservation for Department of Conservation information centres. The TweetMe installation has been installed and successfully tested within various galleries in Wellington, and is currently in further development. TweetMe has been well received by the public who describe it as –
“Fun and Inspirational” “Beautiful, Innovative, Instructive and calming” “ I felt like I was in a forest”
TweetMe has a twofold objective, both as an educational tool, but also as a mode of merchandising and branding. The installation consists of a cross section of New Zealand Trees arranged to create a forest setting. A 3D mapped digital projection projects an animated film of a day and night in the forest accompanied by an ambient forest song soundtrack. The Fifty Five forest inhabitants are a cross section of ten species of New Zealand birds, with more of the common birds eg: ten Fantails and less of the rarer species eg: one Kakapo. Each bird contains RFID technology which enables them to communicate. The public are encouraged to “feed” the birds at the educational tables, and the birds activate a short audio/visual narrative describing their ecology. Each bird has a different story to tell, which are activated randomly from a continuously evolving database. The bird soft toys are made from locally sourced recycled materials.
During the night the predators enter the forest projection creating fear and disharmony in the forest. The aim of the installation is to enable the public to engage with and learn about new Zealand birds, and to understand measures taken to ensure their preservation. But to provide this information in context with the predatory plight our native species encounter on a daily ( and nightly basis).
The second objective of the installation was to provide a display mode for new Zealand wildlife focused merchandising. The entire installation is digitally manufactured from flat packed materials, and can be reiterated to represent any native Flora or Fauna. The merchandise consists of tree sculptures, vinyl decals, and bird toys.
2011 Thistle Hall, Wellington
2013 The Makertorium, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington
2012 Wildlife week, Pataka Gallery, Wellington
2012 Fab 08 Conference, Massey University, Wellington
2016 Red Dot Concept Design – Red Dot Awards
2012 Bronze in Spatial design – Designers institute of New Zealand Best Awards