Sarah Kenderdine

Recently we were fortunate to have Professor Sarah Kenderdine give us a wide ranging look at her approach to designing and creating interactive and immersive experiences for galleries, libraries, archives and museums around the world.

Her visit was facilitated by the Friends of Futuna who host an annual lecture series with an international architect of note.  This year they looked wider than just architecture and invited Professor Kenderdine to present the 2017 Futuna Lecture in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.

A New Zealander, whose academic career began at the University of Otago, Sarah is currently Professor at the University of New South Wales Art & Design, where she is the founding director of the transdisciplinary Expanded Perception and Interaction Centre (EPICentre), pioneering new visualisation infrastructures and projects across the arts and sciences.

The projects she described could not have been realised without some amazing technology (the high-end specialised cameras and scanning equipment that she uses are custom built), but while technology was the enabler, a key factor in their success was the engagement with communities of interest that have contributed to the richness of the resulting experience.

Place-Hampi is an interactive installation  focused on a World Heritage site, Vijayanagara, in South India.  This toured worldwide before being installed in a purpose built museum close to the site.  It integrates immersive 3D images with a sound track to match using specially designed microphones, and images of Hindi deities animated using motion capture from Indian classical dancers.

Pure Land: inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang places visitors in the shoes of an archaeologist exploring part of one of the world’s great treasuries of Buddhist.  This site in northwest China, known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, is now threatened by rising levels of humidity and carbon dioxide due to its popularity as a tourist destination.  Digitising the grottoes through high-resolution photography and laser scanning is a program that many believe is essential to keeping the caves’ cultural history alive.

Sarah is about to take up a new position as Professor in Digital Museology at École polytechnic fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland in late April.

Further resources:

Her website has in depth descriptions of many of her recent works.

A video of her presentation to the World Economic Forum

Listen to her talking to Kathryn Ryan on RNZ’s  Nine to Noon on Wednesday 5 April.