The Climate Converter is an immersive installation about climate change that features in the new permanent Te Taiao Nature exhibition at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa). It asks visitors to work together to achieve a carbon zero future.
When Te Papa started developing its new natural sciences exhibition they strived to address climate change in a way that would inspire visitors to take action. From their research they knew that it was the issue their audience cares about most, but one that leaves many feeling overwhelmed, scared, and powerless to make change.
The challenge was to inspire visitors to take action on climate change beyond the walls of the museum. The installation could take up a maximum floor space of 5 metres by 8 metres, and needed to function without host/docent guidance.
DOTDOT designed an immersive installation where visitors learn ways we can take action to lessen the harmful effects of climate change and work together to achieve a carbon neutral environment.
It is an immersive space, with four walls and floor all projection-mapped in a mesmerising environment. Visitors can collaboratively interact with the environment to create change on a societal level and then choose to make a personal pledge to change their own behaviour beyond the walls of the museum. Visitors can also choose to receive an email with tips and advice on how to achieve their pledge.
Climate Converter launched in May 2019. It is expected to last 10 years and has already had more than 1 million visitors. The museum is 30% above visitation targets and satisfaction is high at 96%. The impact is being captured using an audience impact model which shows the majority of visitors are learning something new and 16% are leaving inspired to make a change to protect the environment (high for a museum exhibit), our ultimate goal. The installation has been a catalyst in the media for public debate around agriculture, which is a significant economic driver for New Zealand’s economy.
Te Taiao Nature is Te Papa’s most ambitious project to date, and Climate Converter its most innovative installation. The original innovation goals were to emphasise immersive, interactive and participatory experiences. Specifically working to integrate learning theory, particularly around embodied learning, in connection to climate change. This was achieved through collaboration between exhibition designers, scientists, game designers and creative technologists, who together designed a truly immersive space that responded to all people who pass through it. Active learners could learn what individual actions they can take at home, and make a pledge that results in an email being sent to them with helpful tips. Casual viewers can activate change by touching the walls. Very young children can interact in a more purely playful way with the floor projections – the key is that they’re surrounded by others taking action, and are part of those conversations.
It sits within the Te Taiao zone which:
- integrates indigenous (Māori) and science perspectives
- tackles tough environmental topics, with a key focus on promoting sustainable action/take a stand
- presents humans as part of, rather than separate from, the environment (connected to indigenous perspectives)
- connects the museum experience to opportunities for action in the real world