Applications now open for second Mordant Family VR Commission

ACMI Dr Christian Thomspson - 2017 Mordant Family VR Commission recipientSupporting new VR works by Australian artists and filmmakers, ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) has announced that applications are now open for the second $80,000 Mordant Family VR Commission.

Now in its second year the Mordant Family VR Commission builds on ACMI’s vibrant commissioning program, cementing ACMI as a prominent supporter of experimental and technology-based artistic practice.

The Mordant Family VR Commission invites visual artists to produce bold new works using VR and associated technology. Open to mid-career and established visual artists, the Mordant Family VR Commission supports gallery-based practitioners to move into VR, encouraging experimentation and enabling the creation of ambitious artworks that push the limits of technology to engage audiences in new ways.

The recipient of the inaugural $80,000 Mordant Family VR Commission was Dr Christian Thompson for his proposed work Bayi Gardiya (Singing Desert). An immersive VR experience, Thompson will invite audiences to walk through the landscape of his childhood, where they will witness a simple yet profound aesthetic gesture of the artist singing in his traditional Bidjara language, a language that has been recognised as extinct.

While Thompson’s multidisciplinary practice engages mediums including photography, video, sculpture, performance and sound, the commission has allowed him to extend his practice into the medium of VR for the first time.

“The rapid development of VR into a far more sophisticated and simultaneously accessible platform has made it an exciting new canvas for artists to explore,” said ACMI Director and CEO Katrina Sedgwick. “At a time of shrinking funding for independent artists, this unique Australian commission, established through the generous support of Catriona and Simon Mordant AM, the City of Melbourne and ACMI, provides a substantial fund for gallery based artists to experiment and create in this space and to tell their stories in new ways.”

Awarded annually, the Mordant Family VR Commission recipient will be granted $80,000 for the development and creation of a new work. Commissions will be selected by a panel of national and international industry experts including Natalie Kane, Curator of Digital Design at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; leading futurist, author, entrepreneur, Mark Pesce; ACMI Chief Experience Officer Seb Chan and ACMI Senior Curator Fiona Trigg. The panel will be co-chaired by Simon Mordant AM and ACMI CEO and Director Katrina Sedgwick.

“Catriona and I are delighted to partner with ACMI and the City of Melbourne to support an established visual artist to create a new work using VR,” said Simon Mordant AM. “This powerful technology is extraordinary and I look forward to seeing the quality of applications particularly after the excellent field of interest seen last year.”

In addition to financial support, the recipient of each commission will receive expert advice and support from ACMI in the development phase, as well as a workspace in ACMI’s vibrant Southbank co-working studio for the screen industries, ACMI X. Ultimately, each work will be presented to the public and an edition accessioned into ACMI’s collection.

Applications for the Mordant Family VR Commission are now open and close on Sunday 11 March 2018 – 5.00pm. For more information and to apply, visit: for details.

Image: 2017 Mordant Family VR Commission recipient Dr Christian Thompson (supplied)