Retrospect is a multi-platform project presented on ABC Online, ABC Television and ABC Radio during 2015 and as an interactive installation in the AVIE3 visualisation platform at Melbourne Museum in 2016. The project interactively explores the relationship between the experiences of Afghanistan veterans and their families. It involves collaboration between a group of veterans and families, researchers at UNSW, the ABC and Department of Veterans’ Affairs, with additional support by the Australia Council for the Arts and Museum Victoria.

Using an artificially intelligent database of documentary material created in the field and assembled from ABC news archives, the project provides an innovative way of exploring war memories. Rather than treating them as events that occurred in the past in the theatre of war, it investigates how these memories are constantly reshaped by the interaction between the ‘war and home fronts’, between personnel in Afghanistan and their loved ones in Australia, both in the past and in the present. This is particularly the case today when there are no longer the artefacts of war, such as letters, but rather daily interactions mediated by digital technologies. In view of this, the project prototypes a new type of war memory for Defence Heritage, one that is brought to life through databases of recollections and reflections. Retrospect’s database can evolve, updated by new memories and experiences from other veterans and families.

ARC InvestigatorsDennis Del Favero, Ross Harley, Jill Bennett, Michael Thielscher, Neil Brown, Craig Stockings, Volker Kuchelmeister, Anthony MacGregor, Richard Reid
Programmers: Alex Ong, Som Guan, Rob Lawther
Project Funding: ARC LP120200347
Industry Partners: ABC, Australia Council for the Arts, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Museums Victoria

  • Melbourne Museum, Melbourne, 2017
  • Eugene Goossens Studio, Sydney, 2015

ABC online, 2015

Earshot, ABC radio national, 2015