We Are Together: the Footscray Journey

The Footscray journey on 64 Ways of Being is called ‘we are together’ – translated from Tuko Pamoja in Swahili. This can mean being together in the same place, together in friendship or family, or together in our aspirations for the world. This journey allows players to rediscover this iconic inner-west Melbourne suburb through a process of urban play.

If this is the first time you have used the 64 Ways of Being app, visit this page for information about how to find the starting point of the Footscray journey and advice for getting the most out of the experience.

The Footscray journey is divided into two parts, beginning Part One (Future Loop) at The Footscray Hub Business Centre in Nicholson Street, and concluding Part Two (River of Signs) with a slow walk along the Maribyrnong River. Players can follow the audio and on-screen cues to move through central Footscray and beyond. The melding of stories, voices, music, sound effects and digital art beautifully captures the rich diversity of this place. It’s an immersive experience – one that allows you to take your time, and take it all in.

Drawing on knowledge from local First Nations and multicultural communities, players learn about Footscray’s significance as a meeting place for the Woiwurrung and the Boonwurrung people, and the area’s successive waves of European, Indo-Chinese, African and Middle Eastern immigration.

Throughout the Footscray journey, players hear stories about different times and places of significance in this area and are invited rediscover the many different meanings of ‘place’. Early in the Footscray journey we hear,

“What is it to be in this place? To be here?”

In the Nicholson Street Mall segment of the Footscray journey, players learn about the native blue flowers that once covered this area. These flowers are from the genus Wahlenbergia, of which there are hundreds of species. They are delicate and shaped a little bit like stars. Settlers who walked through this place named Footscray after Foots Cray in Southeast London because those little blue flowers reminded them of a similar variety back home. As players navigate different checkpoints in the Footscray journey, they can start to imagine what this place may have looked like before colonisation. A new awareness of this maze of modern ruins and urban transformation emerges. But it’s not only stories told to us with words that create a new awareness of place.

Overlapping voices, music, memories of cultures and traditions, and digital art combine to form the Footscray journey. As you’re walking through streets and malls or along the river, the smells and sounds of the real-world environment combine with the digital experience. The actual world becomes reimagined through play, which the apps’ creator Dr Troy Innocent calls ‘reworlding’. This is a beautiful way for adults to engage in immersive play, something that children do intuitively to learn about the world. Immersion in play is like lucid dreaming – dreaming but awake at the same time – when we play in public space we are in another world, but the actual world continues around us.

After players have completed the first part of the Footscray journey, they are guided to the banks of the Maribyrnong River for the second part, called River of Signs. Players learn about language and for the Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung people ‘Maribyrnong’ means ‘I can hear the sound of a ringtail possum’. Words from many languages are shared throughout each 64 Ways of Being journey. These words have been chosen because they are ‘untranslatable’, meaning there isn’t a corresponding word in English. They describe place, play, a mood, or other way of being in the world.

The Footscray journey features a soundtrack by a selection of local artists such as Jess Locke, Ajak Kwai, Allara Briggs-Pattison, The Orbweavers and Oka, with narration from Elders and other local figures including N’arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM, Uncle Larry Walsh and Samuel Gebreselassie. They share memories, poetry, language, and knowledge about the landscape.

Once you have wandered the Footscray journey, why not try one of the other journeys on 64 Ways of Being to continue your urban play adventure?