Visions of Storytelling: Immersive Storytelling, World Economic Forum 2015

“I’m trying to call us all inside these stories, so I have to make spaces that invite you in” - Lynette Wallworth
On Coral “I wanted to tell a story about coral, about marine reefs that were at risk. They don’t have lovely faces, they’re strange creatures that live in symbiotic relationships with algae. We don’t automatically love them, but they’re in need. So this was my first portrait of coral. You had to come into a dark room and hold a glass bowl in your hands. You had to find the coral in your own fingertips. If you dropped the bowls they would break. But you were seeing the coral alive in your hands.”
“And with one gesture, as you handed that bowl to the person who came after you into the room, you also understood in one act what needs to happen. This has to be able to be handed on safely. So with the glass and with the image I could say what I wanted to say to us as a community, about something that belongs to all of us. And that set me on the path of how to do my work. Coral remains constant, and for as long as I produce work, I will produce work about coral.”
On Grief “I wanted to do a work about grief. I happened to meet a woman on a tram who had lost her mother two weeks before. She told me her husband was tired of her crying and she needed to get herself together. She couldn’t escape the mist of grief fast enough for the people around her. We had a conversation that grief should not be rushed, and I made this work in her honour.”
“I placed this woman in a public space in Melbourne during a festival. And she sat behind the glass until you touched the glass in that space, when she would wipe it just enough so you could see her eyes … the glass sometimes sheds a tear. I’m still pulling people into the work, because grief is common to all of us. Grief is the one thing we can’t escape. I would see strangers holding their hand up to the glass, and that taught me about presence. And it taught me about how we tell our stories to each other and how we create community through work that helps us deal with the things we deal with, together.”
On Rites and Resilience “This group of people live in a small industrial town South of Sydney. There’s a lot of unemployment there, there’s a lot of poverty, there’s a lot of resilience. They’re sitting having a picnic in a graveyard, because they realised that funerals were too expensive for their community members. They decided if funerals were too expensive they would have to work out how to do them themselves, and undercut the major companies that are charging so much money, that some people are taking ten years to pay off a funeral for a family member.”
“This is them at a workshop learning what they may have to do. So you can see in the way I filmed that, I’m showing you what they were feeling so you can imagine what they’re seeing. I’m calling your imagination into the film, so that afterwards when you see them washing a body, when you see them tending to their friend, when you see them caring in that way, when they’ve struggled and learned how to do it. It’s our eyes who are watching the images, it’s our eyes who are filling with tears, it’s us who are imagining could we do that. That sharing, that transferring of the knowledge, through struggle to resilience is what they offered by letting me film them.”

Team Credits

Lynette Wallworth

  • Message
  • Artist & Director

Project Tags

Inspired by this project? Showcase projects you’ve worked on and inspire other people.

Post your project
Lynette Wallworth
Artist & Director