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Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition at ACMI

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by Vanessa ★ (subscribe)
WeekendNotes Chief Editor / Chief Writer / PR & Communications.
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Video killed the radio star

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) launched its next ground-breaking exhibition today; Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition, a sensory exploration of music video as a contemporary art form.

Curated by Jonathan Wells and Meg Grey Wells of Flux, Spectacle showcases over 300 music videos through photography stills, video projections, recreated sets and interactive installations - it is considered the most comprehensive music video exhibition presented to date.

Originally hosted at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Centre (CAC) in March 2012, Spectacle has since been staged in Sao Paulo and New York, where it was met with critical success. For its exclusive Melbourne showing ACMI have incorporated unique Australian music content.

Many iconic artists are profiled in Spectacle, including Bob Dylan, The Beatles, David Bowie, Devo, Björk, Beastie Boys, Madonna, Nirvana, OK GO, Lady Gaga and Kanye West.

Innovative film directors are also celebrated within the multimedia exhibition, including David Fincher, Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze and Mark Romanek.

Speaking at the launch, ACMI Director Tony Sweeney said Spectacle is at home in Melbourne.

" We are thrilled to open this immersive display of music video. Spectacle is perfectly set in Melbourne, among a thriving live music scene, and in the home of the nation's most successful musical and filmmaking talents".

The exhibition is completely interactive - visitors are no longer just spectators, they are invited to listen, watch and play as they make their way through the nine thematic sections;

In the Beginning

This interactive timeline allows visitors to trace the roots of the modern music video.

Key artists featured in this section include David Bowie, ACDC, Midnight Oil, Hunters and Collectors, Skyhooks and Blondie.

Smoke and Mirrors

This section is all about exploring trickery and illusion in the modern music video.

Key artists featured in this section include A-ha, The Chemical Brothers, The Cure, OK GO and The Presents.

Art House

A selection of music videos which rely on inventive graphic design.

Key artists featured in this section include The White Stripes, Blur, Talking Heads, Franz Ferdinand, Coldplay, Gotye and Sia.

Agent Provocateur

This adults only section of the exhibition invites visitors to view controversial music videos through peep holes.

Key artists featured in this section include Nine Inch Nails, Aphex Twin, Public Enemy and M.I.A.


A selection feature length music videos which incorporate plot and characters, delivering a cinematic experience. Visitors are invited to take a seat in this area.

Key artists featured in this section include Radiohead, Bjork, Smashing Pumpkins, Beastie Boys and Kanye West.


Due to the advancements in technology, the audience can now 'remix' their own music videos; this section pays tribute to some Youtube favourites as well as celebrated music video parodies.

Key artists featured in this section include The Muppets, The Simpsons and Weird Al Yankovic.

Body Language

A celebration of choreographed and spontaneous dance on film.

Key artists featured in this section include Fatboy Slim, Lady Gaga, Yothu Yindi and Tame Impala.


Visitors are invited to engage with the music video production itself; you can interact with lasers alongside Radiohead or control Win Butler of Arcade Fire.

Key artists featured in this section include Johnny Cash, Arcade Fire, Radiohead and Bjork.

A series of film, public and education programs will run alongside the exhibition: some key highlights include Gotye and His Collaborators; Hello Flux and Bad Girls - click here for more information.

This exciting exhibition is a must for music lovers!

It is best to visit at off peak times, so you are able to interact with the individual displays - and make sure to visit the ACMI shop, where you will find a whole range of music themed books and eclectic merchandise on offer.

Spectacle will be open daily from 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day) until Sunday 23rd February 2014.

Tickets prices are as follows:

Full $15
Concession $10
ACMI Member $8
Family $40 (2 adults, 3 children), extra child $8
School Bookings: from $7.50 per student
Group Bookings: discounts available for groups of 12 or more.

To make a booking please contact 03 8663 2583 or visit

Please note this exhibition contains some material of an adult nature, which may be considered unsuitable for minors. Parental guidance is advised.
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When: Thursday 26 September 2013 - Sunday 23 February 2014
Phone: 03 8663 2583
Where: Australian Centre for the Moving Image
Cost: Full $15 / Concession $10/ ACMI Member $8 / Child (4-15 years) $8 / Family $40 (2 adults, 3 children)
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