Magian worked with staff at the Sovereign Hill Gold Mining Museum to design, develop and produce multimedia for a new exhibit at this historic out-door site in Ballarat, Australia.
In committing to this exhibition Sovereign Hill made a major shift in electing to use multimedia to expand the depth and nature of the interpretation about this singular aspect of the history of the gold fields in nineteenth century Australia. The Chinese Village exhibition tells the story of Chinese migration to Australia in the mid-nineteenth century following the discovery of gold in the State of Victoria. Working hard, but isolated by race and institutional discrimination, the story of Chinese miners has not been told or well understood until recently.
To support new research, Magian produced two theatre experiences for the Chinese Village exhibition – one which depicts a pivotal moment in this compelling story and the other which more generally explains the experience of seeking fortune from gold through the voice of the Chinese who came to this remote location to find fortune for the village's they called home.
Touchscreens are embedded in small recreated shacks that resembled the living and working conditions of these small Chinese communities. These programs provide information about the Chinese herbalist, a scribe who wrote letters home for the miners and the storekeeper's premises.
The stories told through these programs help visitors to understand the Chinese culture and the story of their new lives in Australia. The story of the very real political and practical obstacles confronting Chinese miners as they struggled to work within the laws erected to impede their success is also told.
Magian was also responsible for designing and developing rich naturalistic soundscapes that breathe life into the realistic outdoor exhibits. Magian also scripted and recorded the actor's voices, to add an additional layer of content to the ambient soundscape.
The Chinese Village
Sovereign Hill Gold Mining Museum
Ballarat VIC, Australia