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Client: Museum4punkt0- Humboldt Forum

Suppose you find yourself in a canoe in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Without GPS, compass, sextant or map. With around you only the waves of the sea. The sun burning above you and a single cloud. With only nature around you, would you be able to find an island miles away? Would you be able to get your bearings?

A virtual journey with a traditional Drua

The indigenous people of Polynesia have been using their own traditional methods of navigating the ocean for thousands of years. For the Ethnological Museum at the Humboldt-Forum in Berlin, IJsfontein created a Virtual Reality game in which visitors learn these traditional navigation methods. A VR experience is set up between the exhibits, historic boats from Polynesia. In it, children and young people can brave the waters of Oceania on their own Drua, a traditional canoe, and practice the special navigation techniques.

Bula! Welcome to Fiji!

In the game you are welcomed by an old Whakatere, a native navigator. He tells you about a feast on an island a few miles away and that you can sail there with your Druaheen. Along the way, four tasks must be completed. In each of these tasks, the player must pay close attention to the clues given by nature. In this way he can find his way.

The first clue comes from the sun, which points the player West. Then, when night comes and the sun is no longer visible, the player must look for Newe, the Southern Cross. This small but striking constellation points the way south. Finally, the shapes of the clouds and the direction in which the birds fly tell where land can be found. Along the way, they receive help from Vonu, a turtle.

A Polynesian perspective

This VR game brings to life the context of the exhibits of the collection, traditional boats. The player is immersed in a virtual Oceania. Here it is important that the story is not told from a Western point of view, but from the Polynesian perspective. Special attention has therefore been paid to the development of a truthful navigator, which is based on an existing Whakatere. The party music also corresponds to traditional music from Polynesia.

At the same time, we do not want to deny the “modern” changes, which can also be seen in the small islands of Oceania. Therefore, in the game we also see the inhabitants with motor boats and cell phones. And along the way you and your Drua also have to watch out for large container ships….