We partnered with FAFSWAG and Piki Films to create ATUA - an augmented reality experience which connects the physical, digital and spiritual worlds through Te Kore - The Great Nothingness, the Empty Void.
We were approached by artists Tanu Gago and Jermaine Dean from Queer arts collective FAFSWAG, to use the otherworldly capabilities of augmented reality to manifest Atua - the gods and spirits of the Polynesian peoples.
We developed ATUA - a sculptural AR experience that reimagines the realm of Pacific gods. Claiming space for gender-diverse identities impacted by colonial first contact, it creates an intimate portal for users to see themselves reflected as vital to their cultural heritage and an intrinsic part of the cosmos.
The digital sculpture is composed of a physical or digital pou (landmark), from which leaps an augmented reality deity when viewed through handheld devices. Designed to be used in a museum-based setting, we needed to be able to orient the augmented reality system without being ‘set up’ each time. We implemented a hybrid approach of image and world-based tracking so that the right orientation of the experience will appear for each viewer regardless of which angle the pou is being viewed from.
We modelled the atua in the experience to be androgynous, working closely with FAFSWAG to get the Pasifika features and body shape right, and also collaborated closely on the animation to pose the model and apply subtle idle animations to bring ATUA to life.
ATUA premiered at Sundance 2022, Documenta and DocEdge film festivals.