Music Videos take centre stage

You might not remember the song but chances are you recognised this iconic Rube Goldberg machine from Ok Go’s ‘This too shall pass’.

Likewise we can’t help thinking Gotye’s Grammy last year for ‘Somebody that I used to Know’ had something to do with the amazing body painting video featuring Kimba, which has now had more than 481 milllion youtube views.

Music videos have long since graduated from supporting acts designed to promote a song to an art form of their own and the rise of portable video technology have given them a new importance.

So it’s appropriate that the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) should hold an exhibition paying  homage to the visuals that have dramatically shaped the music industry/

SpectacleThe Music Video exhibition displays more than 300 clips spanning 90 years from  1920s jazz legends through to videos by Madonna, Lady Gaga and others. Along with promotional videos for pioneers such as David Bowie, The Beatles, Madonna and U2, Spectacle gives attendees the opportunity to experience recreated music video sets, interactive installations and projections.

Director of ACMI Tony Sweeney is thrilled to be hosting Spectacle, a US curated exhibition that he says is right  at home in Melbourne with its thriving music scene.

Opening on Friday 26 September, the exhibition pays homage to iconic musicians that have dramatically shaped the music industry with provocative and evolutionary productions.

‘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,’ said Sweeney.

Stellar reviews for the exhibition have been published online, following its US outings. VICE magazine described it as ‘a dizzyingly comprehensive, highly engaging and refreshingly unpretentious look at history’s most innovative and boundary-pushing videos’. American music publication Pitchfork called it ‘an inexpressibly awesome exhibit’.

Spectacle made its international debut at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Centre (CAC) in March last year, and since then it has widely been seen and praised by many audiences from Sao Paolo to New York.

Curator of Spectacle Jonathan Wells believes that Australia has always played a leading role in developing the history of music video, with the country having produced a myriad of creative cinematographers and spectacular music acts.

‘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,’ he said.

‘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.’

To coincide with the exhibition, film directors and cinematographers are also going to be given a chance to put their knowledge and media skills to the test. ACMI has teamed up with Triple J and Rage for a competition to create a music video for Sydney based band Jinja Safari (above) and their new song, ‘Mombassa on the Line’. As well as having their submission premiere on Rage, the winner will receive membership to The Australian Directors Guild and the Australian Cinematographers Society. They will also be rewarded with cash towards flights and accommodation to Los Angeles, where they have a chance to network with renowned record labels to further develop their professional networks.

ACMI have also added a series of film and education programs for the public to watch.

Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition will run until 23 Sunday February 2014. Tickets are available for purchase at


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