Aurum is Latin for gold and gold’s elemental symbol in the periodic table is Au.
In Aurum, ancient and local stories are explored through the lens of different materials. This enables a revised frame for understanding historical narratives and the connection to place.
It was only after significant research we could understand the complexities of peoples’ relationship to this material and how it is entangled within many cultures. The challenge was to unpack this dense history poetically; and to ensure we maintain a nuanced approach in presenting that back to audiences.
The surprise for us was how rich and tangled the web of stories were.
Human kind’s fascination with gold hasn’t faltered over time and this constant obsession has ensured its value has been retained. The associations with gold are very loaded, with imagery conjuring greed in some and beauty in others.
These images lie so deeply embedded within the mindsets of many Australians as the effects of the gold rushes have set up a difficult dialogue within Australia's contested history.
We knew this had to play a big part in how we engaged with the people and places we filmed.
This leads to a portion of the script in our film by Author Nic Low:
“They say future gold rushes will be on top of and beneath the gold rushes of old. The machines do not miss daylight. They will return to the desert tailings and quartz spurs of the ancient Egyptians and Victorian diggers, searching for whatever secrets may have escaped.
Another frontier is the sea. There is more gold in the oceans than on land.
And the last gold rush will be in space. They say the asteroid belt alone contains 700 billion dollars worth of minerals. NASA is planning an expedition to the metallic near-earth asteroid 16 Psyche in 2022.”