Australia, Monday November 9, 2020: The ancient and sacred stories of Migaloo are brought to life in a cutting-edge new Augmented Reality (AR) experience from Verizon Media’s branded content division RYOT Studio and HuffPost Australia.
‘The Sacred Story You Didn’t Know About Migaloo’, released as an Acknowledgment of Country for NAIDOC Week, explores artist and Quandamooka woman Delvene Cockatoo-Collins' personal story behind iconic Migaloo, and acts as an entry point to illustrate how important connection to land and sea is to Australia's First Nations people.
The AR activation, created by RYOT Studio, lets users explore a map of the albino whale’s migration patterns, view a scaled size comparison and interact with a stunning art display, within an editorial feature. RYOT used webAR technology to make the project available on mobile and desktop devices, one of the first to do so in Australia.
RYOT Studio and HuffPost worked on the immersive project in collaboration with artist Cockatoo-Collins, who lives and works on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) and expresses her connection to land and sea through her art. She previously designed the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 medals and the large inflatable Migaloo which featured in the Opening Ceremony.
The Acknowledgement of Country AR experience will be hosted on HuffPost Australia and distributed across Verizon Media’s social channels and newsletters.
The activation is one of a series of activities being carried out by Verizon Media to mark NAIDOC Week, as part of its ongoing commitment to championing diversity and inclusion across its businesses and mastheads. The Yahoo logo has been changed to one designed by Noongar and Saibai Islander artist Tyrown Waigana, winner of this year’s NAIDOC poster competition. And in recognition of the importance of celebrating and learning from First Nations people, Verizon Media is hosting an ‘Always Was Always Will Be’ panel event for staff featuring Indigenous Elders to dissect this year’s NAIDOC Week theme and talk about challenges and issues facing the community.
Commenting on the Acknowledgement of Country, Julia Edwards, Head of Strategic Solutions at RYOT Studio said: “We really enjoyed showcasing just how powerful our next generation, immersive formats can be for storytelling. With this new technology we’ve enabled viewers to interact with this incredible story of Migaloo to celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their ongoing cultures in an unprecedented way.”
Artist Delvene Cockatoo-Collins added: “Celebrating connection to country is so important to me, there’s so much to learn and observe from the changing of seasons and ways we can care for the land.
“This experience has been really interesting in particular, it’s been exciting to watch my artwork of Migaloo come to life using such progressive technology. I’m grateful to be part of this flagship activation and look forward to sharing with my family another new format celebrating our culture.”
Carly Wiliams, Quandamooka woman and HuffPost Australia Senior Editor, said: “Stories like this are important for HuffPost to share with Australians because they help us all better understand First Nations peoples' significant connection to land and sea. As an editor with Indigenous heritage, I understand it is a privilege to carry on the ancient role of a storyteller in modern times. I feel lucky to be able to feature Delvene’s talent in bringing the sacred history of Migaloo to life with RYOT Studio's stunning AR storytelling.”
Head of Strategic Solutions, RYOT Studio ANZ: Julia Edwards
Senior Strategic Integration Project Manager, RYOT Studio ANZ: Leah Yeung
Senior Editor, HuffPost Australia: Carly Williams
Managing Editor, HuffPost International: James Martin
Global Managing Editor - Video, HuffPost International: Francesca Syrett
Artist & Associate Producer: Delvene Cockatoo-Collins
Sound Engineer: Sachém Parkin-Owens