The most comprehensive exhibition on music video presented to date, Spectacle features over 300 works, taking the visitor through a labyrinth of sound, movement and vision.
Presented across nine thematic sections, Spectacle is experienced through a dynamic fusion of interactive installations, projections, videos and immersive environments, including recreated sets and original objects never before seen outside of the videos themselves.
Music videos are the playground of film directors and cinematographers, who use cutting-edge special effects and visual technologies to change the way that music is promoted and consumed. This exhibition is designed to highlight the central place of these landmark music videos in popular culture.
Spectacle brims with music video history, from the earliest sound films of musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith and Cab Calloway, through to the latest online sensations.
The exhibition features promotional videos for pioneers such as Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and David Bowie, innovators such as Devo, Björk, and the Beastie Boys, and icons such as Madonna, U2, and Nirvana.
Spectacle spotlights the MTV masters who expertly used the medium to define their public identities, through to artists like OK Go, Lady Gaga and Kanye West who follow in their footsteps today.
The music videos featured in the exhibition span the experimental and the extravagant, the political and the provocative, as well as epic productions which cross the boundary into short film, demonstrating that creative ingenuity is the key to creating a perfect marriage of sound and vision.
Some of the world’s most innovative cinematic figures, who developed their signature style through experimentation with music video, such as Michel Gondry (The White Stripes, The Chemical Brothers), Spike Jonze (Björk, Fatboy Slim) and Mark Romanek (Lenny Kravitz, Jay Z) feature throughout Spectacle.
ACMI Director Tony Sweeney said that Spectacle is at home in Melbourne.
“We are thrilled to be giving ACMI’s largest gallery over to this immersive display of music video,” said Mr Sweeney.
“Spectacle is perfectly set in Melbourne, among a thriving live music scene, and in the home some of the nation’s most successful musical and filmmaking talents, many of which appear in this international exhibition.”
“As one of the most important artistic expressions of our time, music video has continually captured the zeitgeist and its creators have produced some of the most beguiling visual experiments in the history of the moving image.”
Spectacle made its international debut at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Centre (CAC) in March 2012 and has since been seen by audiences in Sao Paulo and New York, receiving widespread popular and critical acclaim.
Spectacle was curated by Jonathan Wells and Meg Grey Wells of Flux, a global creative community and collective that programs film and art events around the world.
Jonathan Wells says that Australia’s diverse contribution to music videos across decades makes ACMI the perfect setting for the exhibition.
“With its innovative filmmakers, iconic music acts and pioneering music television programs, Australia has played a key role in the rich history of music video. That’s why we are incredibly excited to bring Spectacle to ACMI, in particular Melbourne,” says Mr Wells.
“Melbourne is the city that gave the world Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue, The Avalanches, The Temper Trap and Gotye; artists whose creative collaborations have produced the world-renowned music videos featured in this exhibition.”
The ACMI exhibition will include additional Australian music video content and interactive material. A series of film, public and education programs will run alongside the exhibition.
Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition
Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square, Melbourne
Exhibition: 26 September 2013 – 23 February 2014
Entry fees apply
For more information, visit: www.acmi.net.au/spectacle for details.
Image: OK Go This Too Shall Pass (Rube Goldberg Machine version) (2010). Directed by James Frost, OK Go and Syyn Labs