Conversations is an experimental Distributed Multi-User Virtual Environment forming the central focus of an Australian Research Council funded study that investigated the reformulation of narrative within digital cinema. It offers viewers an immersive multi-modal interactive narrative experience dealing with the events leading up to the escape, recapture, trial and hanging of Ronald Ryan at Pentridge Prison, Melbourne in 1967, the last person publicly executed in Australia. It allows viewers “to inhabit the landscape of the escape, to experience the confusion of the crime scene first hand; then it enables us to encounter the key protagonists of the subsequent trial. Instead of being presented with ‘facts’, viewers are asked to negotiate the historical landscape themselves, to draw conclusions from their encounter with both the scene of the disputed events and the opinions of the characters who dominated their aftermath”.* It has been developed in the form of two demonstrators. The first for the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney where it was premiered in November 2004 and the second at iCinema’s Scientia Laboratory where it is available for presentation as part of a portfolio of experimental works. The project has been developed in collaboration with the University of Technology, Sydney, the University of Sydney and the ZKM Centre for Art and Media, Germany.
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