Drifter is a multilayered portrait of the Murrumbidgee river system, made out of data. Historic images, newspaper articles, scientific observations and digital maps; tens of thousands of data points come together in three ever-changing views.
Map uses digital newspaper articles to trace fragments of the river's (white) history, from everyday life to large-scale interventions. Alongside these human stories, thousands of scientific observations reveal some of the nonhuman life of the river.
Sifter transforms text into texture, drifting through text snippets from newspaper articles discussing the Murrumbidgee and its tributaries, piecing together the names of some of the living things that go unmentioned in these accounts.
Compositor combines historic images from library and archive collections with contemporary images from fieldwork monitoring the health of the river's wetland ecology.
Drifter is a work by Mitchell Whitelaw, created for exhibition at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery in conjunction with the Land Dialogues conference. A big-screen, non-interactive version is on show there until June 2016.
This web version works best with a modern browser and a big-ish screen.
Drifter is part of a research project on combining digital scientific and cultural heritage materials to create rich representations of landscape. It builds on the speculative, generative approaches to digital heritage developed in Succession.
Newspaper articles: Trove, National Library of Australia
Frog observations: Atlas of Living Australia
v 1.0 | 30 March 2016