SIMS is a research and training institute based on the shores of Sydney Harbour at picturesque Chowder Bay. Lightwell developed the interactive and video programs for their new interpretive centre in conjunction with exhibition designers Five Spaces Design and Peter Campbell Design.
One of the pieces we developed was an Oculus Rift-based virtual underwater dive of Sydney Harbour. Visitors can explore the sea floor and discover animals such as a blue groper, weedy sea dragon, moray eel, and giant cuttlefish. Corals, sponges and sea urchins encrust a central rock platform, accompanied by a slowly waving kelp forest. Looking up, they can see their air bubbles float to the surface towards a circling bull shark contemplating its next move.
We also created a suite of interactive workstations and touchtables on Coastal Erosion, Exploring the Sea Floor, Phytoplankton and the East Australian Current. Interspersed with animations, illustrations, videos and high-resolution imagery of the sea floor, each installation is unique and an important showcase for the research that is being developed at SIMS.
One of the best parts of this project has been the opportunity to work directly with the marine scientists. Our teams have worked together to curate the Institute’s extensive content and choose media that complements each story. We hope this new exhibition, in conjunction with the educational programs that run at SIMS, can contribute to more informed debates at a time when the need for greater public understanding of what’s happening in our oceans could not be more acute.