Australia’s first interactive digital storytelling box has landed in Parramatta Square, connecting people with real-life stories and artworks about Parramatta through time.
Storybox Parramatta is a two-metre multimedia solar-powered cube that uses high-resolution LED panels to stream visual stories created by the community and footage from the ABC Archives.
“Storybox invites people to think outside the box about Parramatta,” City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer says.
“Our City and people have helped shape this nation and Council is proud to share these fascinating stories through Australia’s first-ever Storybox.
“It’s fitting that such an innovative media platform is being launched in Parramatta Square – a world-class commercial and cultural precinct at the cutting-edge of smart city planning and design.”
The unique installation features an interactive ‘Mood Ring’ that asks people how they are feeling via a QR code and changes colour to correspond with their mood, capturing the pulse of the City.
Council is a key partner in the experimental project, which is being led by ESEM Projects in collaboration with ABC Content Ideas Lab, Western Sydney University, Story Factory, FORM Dance Company, Sam I Am and Curious Works.
Storybox is supported by Council’s Smart City Advisory Committee, including chair Councillor Steven Issa and Councillor Sameer Pandey.
Between 7am and 10pm each day until 30 December, Storybox will stream digital stories, sketches, videos, poems and artworks about Parramatta’s past, present and future.
Content includes stories submitted by the community and cultural organisations following the project’s online launch in May.
ESEM Projects Co-Director Dr Sarah Barns says, “Parramatta has so many stories to tell us. As a new city emerges, it's time to gather up and reflect on its many-sided stories, dreaming and creativity, with an eye on the future as much as the past."
"Storybox aims to lead a contemporary and inclusive approach to local storytelling in public spaces. To launch in one of the most culturally-diverse parts of Australia is a unique opportunity and a privilege.”
The ABC Content Ideas Lab provided archival footage of life in Parramatta including dancing at the former Cedars of Lebanon Hall filmed by ABC TV in 1964 and a fashion parade at Elizabeth Farm in 1959.
Since opening its Western Sydney newsroom in Parramatta this year, the ABC has been looking to increase its presence in Sydney’s outer suburbs.
ABC Managing Director David Anderson says, “Our local and regional services are at their best when they are working from within their local communities.”
Western Sydney University has contributed video portraits of Parramatta’s changing landscape.
Western Sydney University Assistant Vice-Chancellor Dr Andy Marks says, “A city is more than just built form and economic growth; its identity is shaped through its stories."
"Western Sydney University is pleased to partner on Storybox Parramatta to share the unique stories of the region and its people. This project is part of our collaboration with the City of Parramatta to support the growth and cultural vibrancy of Parramatta.”