The brief from the Ministry of Culture & Heritage was to create an interactive digital installation, accessible to all New Zealanders, allowing them to share their thoughts, ideas and aspirations about peace, hope, the Armistice and the First World War more broadly. The event marked the centenary of the Armistice that ended the First World War in 1918, the installation was to feature at the PukeahuNational War Memorial Park in Wellington for the National service held on 11 November 2018.
Combining the groups creative and technical forces, “The Beacon” was envisioned. An interactive, seamless, cylindrical LED screen standing 5 metres high, driven by the thoughts and wishes for the future of all New Zealanders.
Custom software and high-end hardware was built to create a spirited, interactive, aesthetic experience that engaged the public and encouraged their participation through web, txt and social media channels in the lead up to and live during the event.
Powerful typography and cutting-edge real-time motion design showcased the messages coming from our bespoke web-based SMS system. With country-wide capacity, the system allowed high-volumes of interactivity and a comprehensive moderation system.
Upon receipt of an approved message, a series of specific keywords were automatically recognised, generating dynamic, animated particle backdrops to the messages.
Indigenous culture was also honoured in the design, and the NZ Prime Minister spoke about the project and invited the country to send messages. You can watch the Prime Minister’s speech here:
The Beacon was to be live both day and night, rain or shine and signal the collective thoughts of the nation.
In addition to the cylinder, the system also ran indoor and outdoor portrait LED screens to further carry people’s messages across the Memorial Park.
On the day of the event, the Armistice Beacon was full of thought-provoking messages of hope, peace and remembrance.
The view was seemingly endless and ever-changing, visible to all in the park. It had attendees walking around the Beacon, looking around the corner wondering what was going to be displayed next.
The messages were archived as a record of Aotearoa’s Armistice centenary commemorations. The words will go down in history and form a repository for future generations. You can view the messages sent to the Armistice Beacon here: https://ww100.govt.nz/armistice-beacon