Words by: Matthew Stephenson Photography by: Mark Gambino, images courtesy ACMI.
As of September 2013, the exhibition space within Melbourne’s ACMI has been filled with over 300 pulsing, vibrant, creative and just downright fun music videos. Dubbed “Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition” this joyous collection of music and visuals began its life at the Contemporary Arts Centre in Cincinnati, where each video was handpicked by curators Jonathan Wells and Meg Grey Wells. Now, in its first Australian incarnation, the international pedigree behind the exhibition certainly shows.
Tracing the music video from its humble beginnings right through to its current elusive, often digital state, Spectacle is chock full of both information and fun. Early clips from the Beatles, pulsing Madonna dance tracks, mind-blowingly inventive OK GO videos, hauntingly beautiful Sigur Rós songs, epic 20min Kanye West short films, it’s all here. The exhibition is beautifully presented in themed sections throughout ACMIs large exhibition space. And boy is there a lot to see and take in.
Particular highlights include the interactive section in which unique clips are displayed, in various ways, requiring your input. An Arcade Fire video, for example, requires the viewer to dance in order for the visuals to stop looping and progress. It’s fascinating stuff and can easily distract for hours. Similarly a section highlighting narrative video clips can easily consume half your day you sit and watch one small story unfold after another. This section also features a surprising number of now big-time Hollywood directors. Names such as Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Mark Romanek and Edgar Wright all feature prominently, with music videos often providing a training ground for these now well established film makers to cut their teeth.
And all this doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition has to offer. The sheer amount of content on display is staggering. Spectacle is enlightening, it’s engaging, it’s well presents, and most importantly, it’s fun. Really, really fun!
Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition runs from 26 September 2013 to 23 February 2014 at ACMI.
More information and tickets head here.