If you have a spare couple of hours and are looking for something fun and interesting to do this weekend in Melbourne, then look no further than the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Situated in the heart of Federation Square, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image or ACMI is a museum for things like film, television, and video games. With three exhibition spaces, two state-of-the-art cinemas and a massive video library called the Mediatheque; ACMI is the world's leading moving image centre.
There are currently three exhibitions on at ACMI. The first is 'Screen Worlds'. 'Screen Worlds' is a free, permanent exhibition that takes visitors through the story of the moving image. Sounds pretty boring I know, but trust me when I say that this is the coolest exhibition you will ever see. Not only will you learn a great deal about how cinema and the internet got started; you will also get to recreate some of the special effects sequences you see in 'The Matrix', challenge someone in a game of 'Mario Kart', and get a picture taken next to the 'Mad Max' car. Did I mention all this is for free?
If you're a total gaming freak, then you're going to love the second exhibition ACMI has on offer: 'The Best of the Independent Games Festival'. Dubbed "the Sundance of the gaming world" the Independent Game Festival is a massive festival held every year in San Francisco to honour independent game designers from around the world. ACMI is currently featuring the top fourteen games from the 2011 festival. You're welcome to sit and play each of the games for as long as you like and it's all for free. My personal favourite is the fast and funky sword play game 'Nidhogg'.
The final exhibition on offer at ACMI this season is 'William Kentridge: Five Themes'. I didn't know anything about William Kentridge before setting foot inside the exhibition, but let me tell you he is one talented dude. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1955; William Kentridge is an artist, animator and theatre director. His stunning exhibition features over 60 works that range from short films and stop-motion animations to theatre models. A full price ticket to the exhibition costs $17.50 but the experience is well worth it. Be sure to check out the Magic Flute room while you're in there – it'll blow your mind. You'd better hurry though, the exhibition ends on May 27.