Film, 2016 – 2018

Laka tells a road-trip love story from Sydney to Yirrkala in the remote Northern Territory of Australia. Lily, an urban lawyer, feels the need to return home – to her traditional ‘country’ for the birth of her child. Her ancestors join her, to provide the strength her journey requires. Also following her is Lily’s husband Siddhartha, who is confronted by his family’s history fleeing civil war in Sri Lanka.

Exploring themes of connections to past generations and our responsibilities to future ones, Laka celebrates Australian First Nations culture and stunning Australian landscapes. It provides a unique perspective on the commonalities between refugee and First Nations people in our nation. First Nations Australian artists and communities from across the country occupy key leadership positions within the project.

Laka is being released in various iterations that can be experienced as individual works in their own right or appreciated as a whole. These include a feature length audiovisual artwork for large-scale projection on public screens around the world, expected to attract more than a million viewers. It will also have a life as a narrative feature film for cinemas, and an innovative virtual reality project.

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Laka is a global multi-year arts project that reconnects audiences to their innate relationship to the natural world.

It recognises that our ecological crisis is not just scientific, but political, social and cultural.

This is a story told through layers of moving image and dense soundscape. Audio for Laka will be streamed by audiences from a mobile phone app and listened to on their headphones. The app will allow for deeper engagement with the cultural knowledge that underpins the work.

Laka (Prologue) is an introduction to the main Myth: Laka narrative presented as an abstract short-form work in triptych video projection with multi-channel soundscape.

Inspired by a Yolngu creation story, it begins when everything is salt water. From here emerge two giant women, who create the world as we know it. They know all its people and places, all its interdependencies. This sacred knowledge is stolen by men, who then hold the power of the physical and spiritual world.

Originally commissioned for the Carriageworks’ 24 Frames Per Second exhibition in 2015, it toured to Ireland’s Light Moves Festival and is also showing at the A View From a Cloud preview exhibition in Kvinesdal, Norway in late 2016/early 2017.

Laka (Streaming) is a long-form work created for large screens around the world, through New York’s The Streaming Museum’s curatorial program A View from the Cloud.

Loosely following the same narrative as the feature film version, this work is presented as a more abstract, surreal, dream-like, sensory journey that will be screened globally from mid 2017 until the end of 2019.

A View from the Cloud is slated to reach 1,000,000 people. The screening venues will include the Australian First Nations communities involved in the project.

Laka (Film) is a narrative feature film version of the project. It follows Lily and Siddhartha’s journeys across stunning landscapes and through different periods of time.

It features the incredible birth of their daughter, Laka, and depicts a strength forged through the presence of our ancestors and our connections with the natural world − all from the perspective of First Nations Australian communities.

The film will be released in mid-2017.

Laka (VR Epilogue) is a virtual reality companion piece to the feature film. Still in the early stages of development it will tour with the film, offering audiences a post-screening extended experience into the narrative.

Through VR booths offering 360 degree visuals and ambisonic audio, users will see the world from the perspective of a key character, years after their time in the film.

Laka is part of our Colony body of work – a universe of interconnected stories that span pre-colonial times to the 22nd century. It is also part of the Myth project – a set of collaborative works between CuriousWorks Artistic Director S.Shakthidharan and sound artist Leah Barclay.

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The project is being supported by the Australian Government’s Catalyst initiative, Nelson Meers Foundation, Australia Council for the Arts, Arts NSW Screen NSW and Carriageworks.

Laka (Prologue): a short-form introduction to the narrative presented as a triptych video projection in Norway late 2016/early 2017

Production update: Shoots stretched from Western Sydney to east Arnhem Land in September/October 2016 …