Raurau Mai (Living City) immersive gallery, Auckland Museum
Raurau Mai draws upon diverse environmental data sets from across Tāmaki (Auckland) to tell stories of a changing people and place, and to consider futures of Tāmaki. The installation creates data portraits of ‘the many Aucklands’, illustrating the varied ecosystems of the Tāmaki Region. Using data as a mirror held up to the city; Raurau Mai reflects the interconnectedness and rich complexity of Auckland as a confluence of people and place.
Workshopping museum data futures
How might a museum’s relationship to data change over time?
To commence the design phase of Raurau Mai (Living City), All Tomorrow’s Futures joined OOM to lead an onsite workshop at AWMM focused on data futures. The workshop explored the concept of data and its pasts, presents and futures. Exploring ‘the Future’ as plural, and futures as spaces of potential, the workshop posed the questions: “what are the multiple, contested futures of data that exist in the present?”, and “what might data become in the future?”
The purpose of the workshop was to explore the historical context of data visualisation and reflect upon the museum’s changing relationship to data. We interrogated initial ideas around temporality and possibility, and unearthed emerging issues around the capture, analysis and use of data. Questions around data sovereignty were explored, particularly ownership of data relating to Indigenous lands and waterways.
One exercise involved creating speculative ‘data artefacts’ from a future AWMM, to consider ways the museum might use data in the future. We encouraged workshop participants to reflect upon how they felt about the data futures these artefacts represented. We asked whether these uses of data aligned with the museum’s current mission, or whether they raised ethical questions.
From this workshop All Tomorrow’s Futures worked with OOM and the AWMM team to redefine the project brief. We situated this project in an understanding of how AWMM’s relationship to data has evolved over time, articulated desired visitor outcomes around data-driven experiences, and devised metaphors, framing devices and design principles for working with data in creating this unique installation.
Raurau Mai (Living City) opens to the public in March 2021 and will be on permanent display.
Collaborators: OOM Creative; Marco Cher-Gibard
Client: Auckland War Memorial Museum