Jayden Dunick Origins of Fire

  • Te Kapa Tauira / Student Team
    Jayden Dunick, Kurt Cranna-Smith, Keegan Fitzgerald, Lexi Xin
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Tammie Leong, Don Chooi, Jim Murray
  • Client
    Eke Panuku Development Auckland
  • School
    Media Design School

Origins of Fire is an interactive storytelling experience using a pseudo-touchscreen to engage the public in the narrative of how Māui brought fire to the world.
Eke Panuku Development Auckland approached the school to engage students with producing an interactive experience for Matariki 2022. During the initial research and development stage, Panuku supplied us with an immersive audio track they had developed, narrating how Māui brought fire to the world. The audio track depicted how Maui grew curious about where Te ahi a Mahuika, Mahuika's fire comes from. The ceremony and ritual associated with fire is significant for all nations across Te Moana nui a Kiwa, as such we understood this narrative could form a catalyst to engage Auckland’s ethnically diverse population via interactive storytelling experience.

Matariki heralds a time of remembrance and is a time for communities and whānau
to come together and celebrate. With this in mind, we needed to create an experience that would allow the public and more specifically families and groups to participate in the narrative rather than passively listen to it. Inspired by the narrative and recent technologies, the project took the shape of an interactive storybook. The story is broken down in to several scenes that can be activated by the user triggering the audio track. We adapted elements of the story into illustrations that when interacted with would trigger animations and sounds on an interactive digital wall. There are multiple areas within each scene that contain trigger points allowing the participants to touch the screen and activate animations of objects and characters as a group.

The installation is designed to be installed in a reusable container that is portable and placed in any open space. It is up-scalable into any size by using a projector, a sound system, formboards and conductive elements on the selected points. The project has 3 main sections; illustration/animation, server and circuit board. Those 3 sections crossed over and built upon one another to elevate one another further. The circuit board used pieces of tin foil that when touched send a signal to the server to trigger animations and sounds within the scene.

For those that are not familiar with the story, the installation will be a simple introduction to the context and meaning behind the story during Matariki. The platform is altered to provide an immersive environment for viewers to participate in the narrative by activating those animations through a simple touch. Such interactivity helps bring people together, connect and nurture the next generation though the story of how Māui brought fire to the world.