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Manawatu River

Installation, 2017

UX / UI and programming of digital diorama filled with lively objects and creatures on a large multi-touch display.

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Installation view with two touchscreens

This installation is part of Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom – a cultural facility in Foxton, New Zealand – and tells stories of the local Manawatu river in an explorative way.

Walkthrough of the explorative diorama (work in progress)

Application features

I developed the app in Unity with objects illustrated by Tedd Mawson. It features custom galleries and split-screen before and after views for aerial comparisons. There are lots of animated objects which get triggered when tapped or are running calmly in the background, adding to the background ambience. Some of them are generative like water ripples or the flock of birds.

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Selected views of the interactive

the changed course of the Manawatu river

In the 1940s, Foxton used to be a flourishing port for the regional flax industry. Unfortunately, Foxton frequently flooded because of its location at a river loop. In response to this, a channel was built to be opened up during high waters.
While still under construction, the channel was washed away, permanently changing the course of the river. This is shown in the pictures below.
Today, the river’s water in Foxton is unhealthy and silted up so no ships could land here. The Save our River Trust would like to change this back and restore the river loop at the town verge. This installation talks about their vision.

Before and After the river was cut off
Before and After the river was cut off
Comparison of the Foxton river loop in 1942 and 2006

I also worked on another interactive in Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, a map-based interactive talking about the heritage of the local Māori community – Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga.


#Unity, #C-Sharp, #Multi-Touch


Production: Workshop e

Illustrations: Tedd Mawson, Workshop e
Content Research: Katie Sims, Tedd Mawson and Pamela Lovis, Workshop e