Chapters of the Great War is a 6 stage exhibition currently on display at The Great War Museum in Pukeahu, Wellington. Dusk has worked closely with Story Inc to bring to life different aspects of the 1st World War as an immersive multimedia experience.
Chapter 1: Wounded
‘Wounded’ explored the story of the 10’s of thousands of New Zealand soldiers who suffered life changing injury in the First World War. Dusk created content for 6 large projector screens that worked in a loop. Half the show displayed information for which Dusk created graphic containers related to the content. The other half of the show was narration based and Dusk used the 6 screens as one canvas to tell the visual story. This ranged from full CG recreations of the scenes described through to 2.5D re-workings of photographs.
Chapter 2: Dissent
This chapter told the story of the fate of Kiwi conscientious objectors as well as religious groups and Iwi that spoke out against the war. Most of the story was to be told through actors’ voice recordings of the firsthand and first-person narrative of the events that took place. In order to tell the story visually, Dusk took inspiration from the theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht. Brecht’s technique naturally give rise to audiences questioning and becoming involved with the stories that are being told. Dusk thought this was a great platform for the subject matter and Story Inc agreed.
For each of the stories Dusk filmed a costumed narrator delivering the tale to a supposed audience in a green screen studio. Brechtian sets that described the scenes were digitally constructed and the result was an immersive theatrical museum installation that invited the viewers to question what they were being told.
This format was broken for King Tawhiao and Te Puea Herangi’s proclamations. In these areas Dusk utilized graphic drone footage of the Waikato region to reflect the themes in Tawhiao’s speech.
Behind the scenes
Chapter 3: Passchendaele
For the story of Passchendaele, Story Inc were keen to convey the relentlessness of the rain and mud and the effect this had both psychologically and physically on the New Zealand soldiers. In response to this Dusk built a CG recreation of the muddy no man’s land of Passchendaele. This was projected either side and under the audience with the rain swelling and the muddy fields deteriorating throughout the course of the narrative.
Chapter 4: Middle East
For this chapter Story Inc wanted to give the audience the feeling of being camped in the desert. Projector screens were replaced with tents that Dusk projected ‘progress maps’ onto that help the audience place where they are in the story. For one section of the story, the shameful ‘Surafend Massacre’ there is no known photographs or other visual material that describes the events. For this section Dusk turned the tents into a theatre of shadows that tells the story of the most shameful event in NZ military history.
Behind the scenes