Las Historias of Te Ahi
Media Design School | Capstone Project GDCT
Las Historias of Te Ahi is an interactive installation where the designer presents an original legend inspired by her journey as a Latin American immigrant living in New Zealand and how she’s been able to connect to Aotearoa by learning about its immigration history and understanding the Maori culture. This installation aims to trigger feelings of empathy and awareness to motivate immigrants like herself to interact, connect and create a sense of community, support, and relief by sharing their stories and exchanging experiences.
Some immigrants have to deal with mental health issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, homesickness, loneliness, and isolation due to language barriers and cultural shocks. When experiences are exchanged and stories shared, they feel connected not alone. It's a booster to continue the path.
Using the human-centred design methodology the project started by questioning the designer "Who am I?" and defining the label she has as an immigrant. The designer listed and researched personal and collective issues around this topic.
This research had 3 different stages:
1. Empathising with herself, her audience and the different background cultures of immigrants.
2. Defining possible solutions, paths and possible outcomes.
3. Ideating how the experience was going to be graphically told using a metaphor and elements from the research.
4. Finally, prototyping and testing were a hand-in-hand process with the audience to generate the outcomes.
The project orbits around storytelling due to its power of triggering emotions. Las Historias of Te Ahi is an emotional legend loaded with Colombian and Latin American symbols, it is also inspired by Latin American and Maori myths and legends. It uses Spanish words and Te Reo Maori to integrate both cultures creatively.
At the end of the legend, a fire (Te Ahi) is brought as a metaphor. It invites the users to participate and create a bond with the legend and their own stories. Fire is used because of its importance in language evolution and storytelling as it brought communities together to exchange stories and experiences. It is ancestral, inspiring, magical and meaningful to different cultures. It is warm, and bright, and represents bond and wisdom in the story.
Being an immigrant is sometimes a decision made by choice, the path is not easy but there are ways to overcome obstacles. Speaking up, sharing experiences, listening to others' stories and connecting with their own and local cultures. These motivate us to continue the journey and overcome obstacles to easily adapt and settle down.
When the designer studied the Maori culture she discovered how similar Latin American values and beliefs are. If people are open to learning, connecting, exchanging knowledge and understanding each other’s cultures, they can spark bonds of community, empathy and a feeling we belong, to call New Zealand home.
How does it work?
The user scrolls down to read the legend which is a linear story. When Te Ahi (the fire) is revealed at the end, it invites the user to share their story by syncing their phone, typing it and throwing it back in a form of a ball of fire to the fire. All the users' stories are floating around Te Ahi and can be navigated to be read by other users.