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Virtually Our Reality: Storm Dog

ALL THE TALK about the impact of climate change can feel so abstract and intangible.

Filmmaker Caro MacDonald’s latest creation, Storm Dog, aims to bring the likely realities of the climate emergency to life, using 360-degree virtual reality (VR) film – and a sweet story about a lost pooch.

MacDonald has just wrapped up three months as the Creative in Residence at the Northern Territory Archives, trawling through the oral histories collection and talking to researchers about how Darwin and its residents will likely be affected as the world’s climate changes. Going back in history helped MacDonald shape what the future will look like for her film, set in 2050.

“The reality is climate change will bring some fundamental changes to our lives up here, and we will be encountering similar natural disasters or vast changes in the landscape in the future. By seeking out how people spoke about these events in the past, and what their experiences were, I could translate that in to a future narrative,” she says.

Storm Dog can be viewed through 360-degree virtual reality goggles as part of Darwin Festival.

“You put on a headset and you can look all around you and hear things all around you. I chose this medium because it’s so immersive, and one of the things we have difficult with climate change is imagining what it’s going to be like for us. We have all these depressing abstract facts and figures, but what’s the actual reality of that on the ground?”

The story follows a girl who has lost her dog as a cyclone is approaching. MacDonald said it was important to have a story that was relatable and not overtly political.

“I chose this story because it’s emblematic, or a metaphor – maybe a bit of both – for a broader story, which is our connection with other animals and the environment.”

Don the VR goggles and learn more about the project and how Darwin will be affected by climate change as part of the Shifting Realities series at Festival Park. 

Storm Dog Fri 9 – Sun 25 Aug, 5-8pm | Artist Talk Sat 17 Aug, 4PM | Festival Park | Free | darwinfestival.org.au

Image: Storm Dog by Hels Orr.

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