Listening to the Salako: Voices of the Paddy and Human is an Extended Reality (XR) documentary storytelling co-created with the Salako community in Pueh, Sarawak. The ritual and storytelling are performed by
Listening to the Salako: Voices of the Paddy and Human is an Extended Reality (XR) documentary storytelling co-created with the Salako community in Pueh, Sarawak. The ritual and storytelling are performed by the community members recommended by the chief of the Salako community. The XR documentary storytelling of the rituals brings the audience on a journey and witnesses the 13 episodes of the rituals for the paddy farming of the Salako community. The interactive digital experience offered by the XR documentary will allow the audience to navigate and immerse themselves in the rituals while listening to the stories and the voices of the Salako community. The Salako community believes that paddy is a gift from God, and within paddy resides a princess who will keep the community well. Therefore, to respect the princess’s spirit (paddy), the Salako community members (humans) perform the rituals. Voices of the Paddy and Human is a creative arts metaphor to represent the inaudible and audible voices of the Salako community.
Extended Reality is the umbrella term used to describe immersive media and technologies consisting of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality. Augmented Reality is a technology that overlays digital visual elements on the physical world through the users’ field of view, while Virtual Reality completely replaces the physical world with an immersive 3-dimensional, 360-degree view of a digitally constructed environment. Mixed Reality, on the other hand, although similar to Augmented Reality, can be easily distinguished by its spatial computing attribute that allows detection and seamless interaction between digital and physical world elements (Khoshelham, Tran, and Acharya, 2019).
The creative arts study proposes a theoretical framework derived from Deleuzian’s ‘Line of flight’ in Rhizome, a concept Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari introduced in their Capitalism and Schizophrenia project from 1972 – 1980 (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987). The Rhizome describes a theory allowing multiple, non-hierarchical entry and exit points in data representation and interpretation. Based on this theory, XR storytelling can be reimagined as a mediating structure to investigate storytelling within the postcolonial community setting. The multiple, non-hierarchical entry and exit points in XR storytelling suggest no specific sequence to start or end the storytelling experience. XR storytelling can be a mediating structure between different entities in a postcolonial context.
Bignall (2011) suggested that postcolonialism can be thought of as the practice of an attitude of listening with respect. Using Bignall’s approach to postcolonialism, this study will investigate XR storytelling as a mediating structure for the community to affirm its continuing relationship with the community itself and externally. Hence, the study will contribute to the body of knowledge on XR, storytelling and postcolonial.
The study involves a community known as the Salako, based in Kampung Pueh, Lundu (Sarawak, Malaysia). The Salako community is one of the ethnic groups in Lundu District at Sarawak. They speak the Salako language and have various cultural rituals for various events. The study will contribute to documenting and preserving their rituals and practices through immersive media and technologies.
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Augustus Raymond Segar is a Lecturer and the Deputy of School for Design and Arts at Swinburne University. Throughout his career, he has worked with various industry partners and government bodies, including Nokia, Microsoft Malaysia, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, Sarawak Multimedia Authority, Sarawak Digital Economy, Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Bumiputera Sarawak, SME Corporation, Sarawak Tourism Board and Borneo Convention Centre Kuching. This led to important milestones for the University, which has included the signing of MoUs, partnership, project commercialisation, formation of the course advisory committee and securing numerous commercial, industry projects and grants. Within the local creative industry ecosystem, he is also actively involved as a trainer, facilitator and mentor for budding start-ups. Augustus specialises in eXtended Reality (XR) and currently teaches in the areas of new technologies, interactive applications, games and animation.
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