MYTH is a global multi-year arts project, conceived and developed by S.Shakthidharan & Leah Barclay, featuring stories that reconnect audiences to their innate relationship to the natural world. Beyond climate debates, the catastrophic effects of climate change are becoming a reality. We are not facing an environmental crisis, but a cultural crisis created by deeply ingrained unsustainable ways of thinking and acting. Yet, thousands of cultural traditions across the world still actively practice rituals of environmental and human interconnectedness.
Unfortunately, many of these communities are at risk due to land grabbing, urbanisation, environmental destruction and community displacement. MYTH investigates: Can ecological thinking, science and storytelling combine to restore new mythological function to our contemporary city life? How do young people from culturally diverse backgrounds synthesise traditional and Western culture? What if Australian mainstream culture absorbed various influences from diverse Aboriginal and migrant influences that prioritise environmental and human connectedness?
MYTH is developed in collaboration with artists and communities across the world who hold active sacred environmental knowledge and aims to create new narratives strengthening our relationship with the environmental system sustaining us.
Creativity across the ages has defined societies, transformed communities and inspired generations. Art and story telling has the ability to delve inside complex systems and translate them into tangible experiences that can empower how we think and act. Myth harnesses the possibilities of contemporary technology and interdisciplinary creativity to tell a series of interconnected stories that will unfold across the globe. Myth will introduce a series of unbroken cultural traditions and stories through a transmedia experience that aims to explore the future through a deep exploration of the past. The project will be developed in collaboration with the communities holding the sacred knowledge and aim to investigate the validity of enduring cultural rituals in contemporary society. It will explore new mythologies, methods of translation with creative technology and a rich web of stories with a shared vision for our future.
Myth is built through a process of respectful collaboration with communities around the world. The communities featured in Myth are those that still have world views that integrate humankind and nature – Indigenous communities to Australia, India, and South America. Myth is built through a series of provocations given to members of these communities, that unearth real stories from the ground. Each project will result in a series of interconnected stories appearing across platforms and inspiring a deeper engagement with the communities. The overall project will be framed around a multi-screen global exhibition hosted by The Streaming Museum. The show will penetrate cities with rich audio-visual experiences that will entice audiences deeper into the project. Each screen will carry interactive elements that can be accessed via various platforms. The large-scale audio-visual experiences will be accompanied by a range of other outcomes including live performances, extended stories online, documentaries, sound maps and publications on the conceptual grounding of the project. Each layer will be connected, with elements encouraging audience participation and ultimately creating a new community around the project.
The creative development of this project will be practice-led and allow other outcomes, collaborations and opportunities to evolve over the course of the research. In addition to creating a fictional world, each project will be grounded in exploring methods of documenting, conserving and translating the cultural traditions that inspired this project.
During the research and development phase six locations and communities were selected to feature in the development of MYTH. The initial phase identified the need for long-term engagement and we have now selected three locations based on their relevance to this project. While we are investigating different questions with each community, the work will come together as three interconnected and intertwining stories in the final transmedia experience. The stories will unfold across the following three communities:
AUSTRALIA: Arnhem Land (NT) and Western Sydney (NSW)
SOUTH AMERICA: Central Amazon Rainforest (Brazil / Peru) and Rio De Janeiro (Brazil)
INDIA: Narmada Valley (remote North-West) and Bangalore (Karnataka)