As Melbourne continues its post-pandemic reactivation and with thousands of children visiting during the school holidays, the CBD is the central character in the self-guided immersive theatre experience, 64 Ways of Being.
The innovative project combines games, art and augmented reality. Players follow characters, activate architecture, discover hidden worlds, interact with strangers and talk with trees and rivers.
It’s the creation of RMIT mixed reality artist Dr Troy Innocent, live arts collective one step at a time like this, and game developer Millipede (AKQA Group) and funded by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. It is the latest creative project from RMIT, known globally as a leading university of design and technology.
Millipede’s General Manager Patrick Toohey said: “64 Ways of Being is a uniquely Melbourne experience – enigmatic and layered, secretive yet accessible, interactive and intimate, mind expanding and culturally inclusive. It’s been a true collaboration of minds and talents combining Millipede’s game development craft and mobile app design skills with RMIT and Creative Victoria to create playable art on the streets of the city.”
The 64 Ways of Being experience is a three-part walking trail and draws on Melbourne’s multicultural communities and Indigenous knowledge.
Participants download a free app on to their mobile phone and begin on the steps of Parliament with its colonial architecture and are then led through a walk to Chinatown.
Players continue through a labyrinth of laneways filled with street art and onto iconic locations such as RMIT’s the Capitol. The final stage takes players to the end of Elizabeth St and along the banks of the Birrarung (river) to Queensbridge.
Children and families can also get a sample of the 64 Ways of Being experience at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image at Federation Square until 17 April. Here, pieces of the iconic meeting place fly around on a mobile phone and participants interact with them via augmented reality.
Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson said: “We are proud to back this local project that will showcase our capital city in a new way and demonstrate once again why Victoria is the creative state and home of digital games. “64 Ways of Being puts Victorian innovation on show, providing opportunities for creative workers with a free, COVIDSafe activity that everyone can enjoy.”
RMIT Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow and project lead Dr Troy Innocent said the project had been an amazing opportunity to collaborate with other creative practitioners.
“We’re really excited to see how Melburnians embrace it,” Innocent said.
“People often think of digital games as something played on the couch. We wanted to show they can be much more than that and imaginative, urban play can transform your connection to place.’’
One step at a time like this’s Clair Korobacz said: “This project was a unique opportunity for us to work with augmented reality and expand our creative practice.”
Participants download the app, and are provided with a starting point and information on how to prepare, but the trail is largely self-driven.
Each of the three stages take 60 to 90 minutes, depending on walking pace and time taken to play each augmented reality encounter.
Players can do the entire 3km trail in one hit, break it up over multiple days or, in true Melbourne style, stop for coffee along the way.
At the end, a digital map of the journey is downloaded on to the participant’s phone.
The free 64 Ways of Being app can be downloaded from the Apple store and Google Play and requires headphones and a full mobile phone battery.
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