Drones of the Desert: An Ancient Aboriginal Story Comes To Life With Cutting-edge Technology

Deep in the central Australian desert, I sit atop a dune, looking up at the sky. A blanket of stars stretch over Uluru. Woven among them, the movement of artificial colours and light telling an ancient story come to life.

Red blurs into blue, which blurs into green until a shape forms: a bird moving slowly through the night. It morphs into a looming dog that is struck by the spear of a kingfisher woman, exploding into hundreds of tiny orbs. They float apart slowly, turning white. I lose them among the stars.

In the local Anangu language, Wintjiri Wiru, means “beautiful view over the horizon”. It is the name of the world’s largest permanent drone show, which had its global launch on Wednesday after five years and a $10m investment.

More than 1,100 RGB-lit drones filled the sky above Uluru with three-dimensional artwork telling the Mala ancestral story – just one chapter of stories sacred to the Anangu. The visuals are backed by narration in the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara languages, with English translation, and a soundtrack of traditional music.

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