Digital Arts Network \ New Zealand partnered with The Arts Council of Creative NZ Toi Aotearoa as Digital Partners for the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia campaign. 

New Zealand’s artist for the prestige event in Venice was Yuki Kihara, her exhibition Paradise Camp comprised of 12 tableau photographs which featured a cast of Sāmoan Fa’afafine. Each photograph up-cycles a selection of post-impressionist artist Paul Gauguins’ paintings. This is also accompanied by the Vārchive a collection of Kihara’s personal research which include colonial portraits, activist materials and newspaper articles.

We helped design and build the NZ at Venice website and also working collaboratively with Creative NZ and Yuki to create an engaging digital experience for Paradise Camp. Part of the challenge at the time, is how might we extend Manaakitanga and the aid of understanding and connection through a digital lens, which otherwise is extended through a person.

Using AI technology we built two parallel digital experiences called the Virtual Explore, that is simply an extension of Kihara’s beautiful storytelling. 

The in-gallery digital experience is based on an artificial intelligence engine that has been trained to recognise Yuki’s art via your mobile device’s camera. Once activated the application brings each photograph to life using video, artist commentary and an interactive feature to compare Kihara’s work with Gauguins’.

A full flow build within Miro & Figma

The at-home digital experience gives people in Aotearoa and our Pacific neighbours who can not travel to Venice a chance to uncover Paradise Camp.

Visit the New Zealand at Venice website, to find out more about Paradise Camp, you can also access the at-home experience the Virtual Explore through the website. Check it out!