Total Immersion

AGB Events’ creative director Anthony Bastic on the power of immersive events.

PartjimaWhat is an immersive event?
For us an immersive event is something that you lose yourself in; it’s engaging and emotive and has a strong narrative. The story is the driver and designing content that tells the story in a captivating and memorable way is the key element.

At AGB Events we love combining bold ideas and technology. I love the concept of lighting as it’s very accessible. It overcomes language and physical barriers and can bring art and culture to life.

How are organisers, brands and educators making use of immersive events?
Consumers today are more sophisticated and their expectations around stimulation are changing. Technology has had a huge impact on communication and has really opened up the ability to expand reach and influence people.
Technology allows us to access and exploit a narrative. A narrative, done well, is something that engages people; it affects them and they remember it. Organisations see the value in that!

Today, events are using a lot more technology – there’s a huge rise in visual content, particularly augmented reality (AR). At our 2021 ELEVATE SkyShow (a show featuring 550 drones over Sydney Cove) we also added an AR element.

Audiences are becoming much more attuned and familiar with technology, especially given the recent experiences of the pandemic. It is now second nature to download an app, scan a QR code etc. technology has become more prevalent and we’re utilising that evolution to build multiple layers into event experiences; it’s really exciting.

PartjimaWhy are immersive events so powerful?
Because they’re accessible… worldwide. Even though the world shut its borders with the Covid pandemic, technology enabled us access. We were able to use technology to visit galleries in other parts of the world while never leaving our lounge. The reach now is so broad and we’ve become acclimatised to not attending but participating through technology.

It’s adding a new perspective to event concepts and development. It’s hard to get your head around when you’re doing something in the public realm, it has longevity and it can travel.

Storytelling – how does it inspire change and connection?
People are curious. They’re invested in stories, especially about other people’s lives and cultures. Experiences can change you and our events have always been about creating memorable experiences. By adding new perspective to event concepts and development, technology has allowed us to tell stories in different ways – through visual content, lighting, drones and AR.

Lumiere light festivalPlease give some examples of successful immersive events

Lumiere Festival (UK)
Lumiere invites local and international artists to produce large scale artworks and events. Launched in 2009 in Durham, it is now home to 270 installations and has expanded to include Lumiere Derry (2013) and Lumiere London (2016 and 2018). www.lumiere-festival.com

Beauty Rich and Rare (travelling)
Commissioned by the National Library of Australia, Beauty Rich and Rare was the first Australian exhibition to appear at the National Museum for Natural History (Smithsonian) in the US.

It comprises six screens (65 feet long), six laser projectors and has gorgeous imagery illustrating the wonder and excitement of Sir Joseph Banks and his team as they made the first collection and recording of Australia’s unique flora and fauna. www.naturalhistory.si.edu/exhibits/beauty-rich-and-rare

PartjimaParrtjima (Australia)
Parrtjima is the only authentic Aboriginal light festival of its kind, showcasing the oldest continuous culture on earth through the newest technology – all on the 300 million-year-old natural canvas of the MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia.

The ‘Grounded’ installation is of particular note. Visitors wander through an animated sequence of curated Aboriginal artwork projected onto the red sands of the desert park. www.parrtjimaaustralia.com.au

SkyShow


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Australian-based Anthony Bastic is CEO and creative producer at AGB Events. AGB specialises in creating public celebrations, iconic events and innovative digital experiences. Founded in 2006, AGB Events has conceptualised and produced events and exhibitions across Australia, Asia, Europe and the United States.

Anthony’s ingenuity has been well recognised by his appointments as creative director for many international events including the Sydney Invictus Games Opening Ceremony (2018), the Melbourne Commonwealth Games (2006), the Rugby World Cup (2003), Melbourne’s New Year’s Eve celebrations and the Sydney Olympic & Paralympic Games Live Sites (2000). www.agb.events

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