This is the next instalment in a series of articles looking at UniSA’s futuristic museum of discovery MOD., through the eyes of people of different ages – particularly younger audiences. MOD’s new exhibition, Waging Peace, prompts visitors to ask: what are your perceptions of peace?
We asked fourth-year UniSA journalism and creative writing student Charlotte Lemmon to explore MOD. and capture her reactions about the latest exhibition.
Name: Charlotte Lemmon
Studying: Bachelor of Journalism and Professional Writing, Bachelor of Arts (English and Creative Writing)
Interests: Anything to do with the entertainment and film industry.
Hobbies: I love to read all sorts of books and try my hand at writing in my own time.
Career aspirations: Having just completed my final semester at university, I aspire to enter the editing world in an academic or journalism role.
As I walk through the sliding doors and into the foyer, my eyes are instantly attracted to the blue and orange banners hanging from the ceiling. I can tell the words printed on the banners are Indigenous. Resident café Food Lore’s customers sit beneath the banners, chatting amicably. This is the first MOD. exhibition to include an exhibit in the foyer, and it’s a great addition as it encourages everyone to get involved.
The Department of Welcome holds an extremely important message. Each banner contains an Indigenous phrase that identifies as welcoming. In this way, MOD. recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first Australians, their connection to country, and the diversity of language groups that exist within South Australia. I really appreciate this exhibit for its inclusivity, and it shows that MOD. is addressing Australia’s own internal struggles with peace.
I walk into the Brand Peace room to the beat of Where is the love? by the Black Eyed Peas. A screen of symbols – pulsing along to the beat of the tune – depicts flowers, hugs, cake, and balloons as some of the many things South Australians have identified as peaceful. The research – conducted by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science – provides insight into South Aussies’ perceptions of peace. I recommend spending plenty of time wandering through this spacious room – you’ll be sure to find some statistics that surprise you!
The preparation for Kaurna season Woltatti (pictured right), the hot season between January and March, is told through an interactive touchscreen story on a long digital screen outside the Brand Peace exhibition. I place my left hand in the designated spot, unsure of what to expect. Suddenly a fire begins and the words to the story of Woltatti appear through the mist and follow the fire’s trail of destruction. I walk down the hallway to Orbitopia, the same globe used in MOD.’s Our Sky exhibit, but with a twist. The large globe now has an emphasis on communication and satellites, provoking questions as to how space can be a place for the future of peace. The interactive globe is incredibly cool to use as it gives a visual representation of satellite data. It can show where in the world violent attacks and protests have been reported, or map out the connections of millions of Facebook friendships.
Following the ramp down to the Games for Peace exhibition, I spy shards of plastic hanging from the ceiling, glimmering in the sunlight. They look like a jumble of shapes with no distinct pattern, until I stand on a dimly lit triangle on the floor and look up. A beautiful paper crane has emerged, an icon recognised around the world as a symbol of peace. The crane watches over the video game stands, which are also just as intriguing. The video games are some of many which are slowly breaking the stereotype of violence and fostering understanding and empathy, requiring players to cooperate instead of compete.
I head upstairs to more exhibitions, and see a TV screen telling me that Trigger Warning is about to begin. Curious, I head inside. I sit through the almost eight-minute clip, my mind scrambling to keep up with the themes, and upon exiting, my mind was whirring with all the new information I’d taken in. This is definitely one of the most confronting exhibits MOD. has. The speculative fiction film ponders the fate of the world due to the rise of social networks and the rapid spread of information. It’s definitely something that people need to see, especially those who have grown up using technology from an early age.
The Polar Commons (pictured right) is a smaller exhibit but one of the most important, as it talks about the only place on Earth where humans have agreed to be peaceful: Antarctica. On display is environmental scientist Tim Jarvis’s gear used when he recreated Douglas Mawson’s original Antarctic expedition, and a TV screen shows Jarvis talking through his expedition. Right next to the Polar Commons is the Cosmic Living Room exhibit, a place dedicated to conversation. I sit down in one of the cupped chairs and immediately almost all the noise around me has gone, filled instead with an eerie, alien-like sound.
I wander into the Sleep Ops exhibit and the strange sight of a hanging, golden orb greets me. Peaceful music plays overhead, and people appear on projector screens talking about the importance of sleep and the disastrous outcomes of sleep deprivation. I sit myself into one of the smaller hanging pods, which is filled with pillows, and take some time to relax. The sounds and smells of this room are all so incredibly soothing. If you want to have the best experience in this room, follow along to the Sleep Cycles soundscape, a composed piece which will send you into a temporary state of slumber.
I definitely recommend experiencing the second MOD. exhibition, Waging Peace. The exhibition will not only excite you but prompt your mind to think about things you’ve never considered before. The immersive nature of each exhibition ensures there is something to interest people of all age groups!