27 Sep 2019 — 16 Nov 2019

VENUE: UNSW Galleries, Art and Design Campus, Paddington and, Art Gallery of NSW

World premiere of two new virtual reality works exploring mental health and healing from Aboriginal perspectives, created by this acclaimed collective project.

The Big Anxiety Commission – World Premiere.


The Uti Kulintjaku [UK] is an innovative, Aboriginal-led mental health literacy project that takes its name from a Pitjantjatjara phrase that means ‘to listen, think and understand clearly’. Formed from the Ngangkari traditional healers and artists of the NPY Women’s Council, the UK addresses community issues of mental health from both Aboriginal and Western perspectives. “What makes (the UK project) especially compelling”, writes Kim Mahood in The Monthly, “is that it provides a framework for a conversation about the underlying psychological forces that drive human behaviour.”

Working with the Big Anxiety and fEEL, the Uti Kulintjaku team have created two new virtual reality works, sharing their healing practices through creative visualisation, including Waumananyi: The Song on the Wind, an Anangu-led response to the experiences of constraint, entrapment, and depression through the traditional story (or ‘tjukurpa’) of ‘The Man in the Log’.

These VR works will be presented at:

UNSW Galleries, Paddington see The Empathy Clinic, 27 Sept – 16 Nov

Art Gallery of New South Wales, see Art After Hours, 16 Oct

The Dax Gallery, Thursday Oct 10 to Friday Nov 8. Open 12-5pm Wednesday to Friday.

This project is supported by Oranges & Sardines Foundation.

Artist Biography

The NPY artist team includes:

This Anangu-led project is a collaboration between NPY Women’s Council and fEEL

Rene Wanuny Kulitja
Pantjiti Imitjala Lewis
David Miller
Pantjiti Unkari McKenzie
Naomi Kantjurinyi
Ilawanti Ungkutjuru Ken
Nyunmiti Burton
Margaret Smith
Theresa Nipper
Tjulapi Alison Carroll
Niningka Lewis
Roy Yaltjanki
Johnny Jingo

fEEL team: Volker Kuchelmeister, Jill Bennett, Lisa Stefanoff, Bec Dean with Leah Barclay

Image Credit: Nyunmiti Burton and Pantjiti Lewis at NPY Uti Kulintjaku VR workshop, Alice Springs, 2019. Photo: Rhett Hammerton

Collaborating Artists

Volker Kuchelmeister (Collaborating VR artist) is lead immersive designer and research fellow at the UNSW felt Experience and Empathy Lab (fEEL). He is an expert in presence, embodiment and place representation for immersive applications and has worked extensively in cinematography, interactive narrative, experimental imaging, spatial mapping, interactive systems, immersive visualisation and in the performing arts, exploring and exploding the boundaries of the cinematic image. His work at fEEL includes collaborations with Debra Keenhan (on the embodied experience of disability) and Uti Kulintjaku (NPY Women’s Council), as well as the Confabulations project for The Big Anxiety. For the 2017 Big Anxiety festival he was lead immersive designer on Parragirls Past, Present. He has established and directed leading media-art research labs (ZKM Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe Germany – Multimedia Studio; UNSW iCinema Centre Media Lab and the UNSW National Institute for Experimental Art – and his interactive installations and experimental video projects are exhibited in museums, galleries and festivals around the world.

Leah Barclay (Collaborating Sound Artist) creates complex sonic environments that draw attention to changing climates and fragile ecosystems. These works are realised through immersive live performances, interactive installations and virtual reality experiences drawing on environmental field recordings, live streaming audio and spatial sound diffusion. Her work has been commissioned, performed and exhibited to wide acclaim internationally by organisations including the Smithsonian Museum, UNESCO, Ear to the Earth, Streaming Museum, Al Gore’s Climate Reality and the IUCN. Leah’s augmented reality sound installations have been presented across the world from Times Square in New York City to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Leah is the president of the Australian Forum for Acoustic Ecology, the vice-president of the World Forum of Acoustic Ecology and serves on the board of a range of arts and environmental organisations. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre where she is leading a portfolio of research in acoustic ecology and climate change.