Partnership project wins prestigious award

02 August, 2013

Place-Hampi at Kaladham
Images and animations from the Place-Hampi immersive installation.
Image: S Kenderdine
Source: Museum Victoria

A purpose-built museum in southern India that brings Australian-led immersive 3D technology to the interpretation of a World Heritage site has been recognised at the inaugural Australian Arts in Asia Awards.

Announced yesterday evening at a ceremony in Sydney, the awards recognise, celebrate and promote the significant number of Australian artists engaging in Asia, contributing to stronger, deeper and broader cultural links with Asian nations.

Museum Victoria’s partnership project PLACE-Hampi, India, received four nominations and took out the award category for Innovation.

“Australia’s engagement in Asia isn’t simply about trade, business and foreign affairs; there is a dynamic creative engagement which allows Australian art to be experienced in Asia, great works from Asia to be available here and most importantly fresh creativity which is only possible because of the way we work together,” said Federal Arts Minister Tony Burke, in paying tribute to the winners.

PLACE-Hampi, India, is part of a new heritage and tourism precinct, Kaladham, constructed in the township of Vidyanagar, Karnataka State, to honour the area's most famous attraction: the archaeological site known as Hampi, a 14th-century treasure trove of intricately decorated temples and monuments.

"Museum Victoria is a key partner in PLACE-Hampi, supplying the main museum content from our Ancient Hampi exhibition, originally shown at the Immigration Museum in Melbourne, from 2008 to 2010," said Tim Hart, Museum Victoria Director, Public Engagement.

"Along with beautiful large-scale photography, archaeological fieldwork archives and an interactive image light-table, the central component of the new museum is the Place-Hampi immersive installation. This 360-degree 3D installation with its panoramic visuals and surround-sound changes the way visitors experience museums and heritage."

The Kaladham precinct was commissioned by Jindal Art Foundation as an initiative of its chairperson, Mrs Sangita Jindal, to create a focal point for Carnatic culture, past and present. All exhibition content is presented in Hindi, Kannada and English and is intended for both local and international visitors.

PLACE-Hampi at Kaladham brings together decades of research at the site, predominantly led by Australian art historian Dr George Michell AO and his archaeological collaborator Dr John Fritz. It also includes extensive photographic records by the eminent Australian architectural photographer John Gollings.

"Immersive technologies allow us to interpret tangible and intangible heritage in new ways," said Dr Sarah Kenderdine, leader of Place-Hampi's development and the exhibition in India. "It's not about replacing the original sites, but rather bringing them to life elsewhere – engaging the mind, body and the senses."

The Place-Hampi installation was developed as a partnership between Museum Victoria, the iCinema Centre of University NSW, Epidemic, Paris, and ZKM Karlsruhe, supported by Australian Research Council funding.

Place-Hampi, India, has also recently won the International Council of Museums (ICOM) Australia Award for International Relations, 2013.

For further information, or to arrange an interview please contact:
Karen Meehan on (03) 8341 7136, 0478 314 014 or kmeehan@museum.vic.gov.au