Mana Moana Collective | Storybox | Toi Rauwharangi - Massey University | Vanishing Point
Mana Moana Digital Ocean

  • 2020

    Submission # 210

  • Output

    Digital Design – Toi Matihiko

  • Kaupapa

    Identity – People & Culture

    Impact – Social Good

  • Location


Project Overview:

Mana Moana Digital Ocean brings together more than 20 leading Māori and Pacifica artists from across Aotearoa for an online collection of multimedia and video art – all housed over an immersive waterscape rendered in 3D. Art and technology weave together in eight new collaborative works. The result is an innovative exhibition speaking to our relationships with water and the need for collective action to ensure its survival. The project takes off where Mana Moana 2019 left off, however, with Covid-19 restrictions the project needed to pivot into the digital realm. These digital art works offer a compelling narrative about manaakitanga and whanaungatanga to inspire positive change for people and the planet alike. In doing so, themes of well-being, balance and healing are forefronted in a number of the works. Curators wanted to produce works that pushed the boundaries of a digital delivery while also staying true to the kaupapa of the project. The web platform itself becoming an artwork in which the viewer is invited to voyage. The new collaborative works were released around Matariki – traditionally a time of reflection and renewal. Considerations in the design process of the platform adhered to tikanga and Mātauranga Māori which, like the project itself, had been adapted to a new digital realm. Staying true to its waterscreen roots the Mana Moana digital ocean links in with the maramataka of Matariki paying tribute to the past, bringing together our digital offering to share the harvest of ideas and stories for the future.

Mana Moana, curated and conceived by Rachael Rakena and Mike Bridgman and produced by arts production company Storybox, brings together leading interdisciplinary Māori and Pacific artists to collaborate on multimedia and moving image artworks exploring our relationships with the ocean, climate change and highlights indigenous knowledge and stories.

Key Kaupapa values

Asserts and uphold a healthy, respectful and positive relationship with the Moana (bodies of water) - lake, river, sea, rain).

Revealing the space between us as potent for sharing knowledge, experience and technology.

Presents an indigenous worldview foregrounding Mātauranga Maori and Kaupapa Pasifika perspective.

Enabling the positive and critical discussion of positive relationships in our environment.

Creative intervention. Works that draw attention and request action on the issues being addressed.

Across multiple art-forms, mediums and practices.

Using the power of positive relationships to explore, create and communicate. Enabling organic and fluid expressions.

Investigating technology as a de-colonial tool. Using technology as a way to explore artistic potential.

Mana Moana Digital Ocean came about as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our Mana Moana waterscreen event was cancelled just our artists were about to start creating their new collaborative artworks. The entire website including the artwork was created during lockdown. The artists and production team needed work and the world needed healing. Our design response was to create a digital platform that could convey the important values and kaupapa of the project to people in a pandemic, maintaining an aesthetic connection to the waterscreen experience. To keep the integrity of the original project design that projected the kaupapa literally onto the ocean we designed a 3D rendered ocean. The artworks are like glowing islands, always presented in context of the moana, reflected in the continuously rippling environment of an ocean at night. Viewers are invited to navigate and ‘voyage’ across the ocean, to reach and view the artworks. Tikanga Māori and an indigenous frame was embedded into the experience in numerous ways; the viewer is required to pause and wait for the pao (a welcome into the space) to end before entering through the 3D ngutu, or gateway; the ngutu depicts four atua Māori who reside over the watery digital creative domains at the core of the project’s environment; the digital ocean website was launched for the Māori new year via zoom with karakia chanted from the actual lapping ocean; the site info text and navigation is bilingual; viewers cannot skip through videos.

Archiver’s Response:

"A piece of work that showcases artwork and is a piece of digital art itself.

This project is truly a breathtaking response towards the restrictions of the pandemic and technically a monumental achievement in the same right.

With the project originally designed to be a physical display across water, it has been successfully translated into the digital realm which arguably enhances the artwork on display. The rolling water that stretches on forever is the perfect 'landscape' for a completely immersive experience (pun unintended).

The sound design is well done, it enhances the experience naturally. Each piece of artwork feels seamlessly adapted into the medium, whether they were created to do so or not. Also unlike physical art exhibitions, what it does better is it allows the audience to step deeper into the meaning behind the work and artists.

In summary this initiative is one of the many projects that are the rays of light that punched through the 'Covid cloud' during 2020. Exceptional."

"Really nice contextual references. A great digital response for a physical exhibition where interaction is still enforced. An awesome tool for education."

Credits & Collaborators:
Creative Director - Rachael Rakena | Massey University
Creative Director - Mike Bridgman | Massey University
Design Director - Robert Appierdo | Storybox
Developer - Vanishing point studios
Artist - Mana Moana collective – 20+ Artists – Names don’t fit

01 MM Splash page
02 MM Waharoa
Archive Submission
03 MM Device
04 MM Te Mauri
06 MM Te Huihui a Matariki
07 MM Tūātea
08 MM I am Hine I am Moana
Archive Submission
10 MM Rukuia Art guide
MM Waterscreen 2019 Collapsed Worlds

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