Deep Space: Sensation & Immersion invite us on a journey into physical and electronic spaces of imagery, light and sound. Visitors will literally move through art works, interact with ghostly figures and be submerged in limitless space. The Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan exhibition is a major multi-screen audiovisual installation that offers unprecedented insights into the art and culture of the Ngarinyin Aboriginal people of the Kimberley plateau in Australia's northwest.
Deep Space: Sensation & Immersion
Saturday 26 October 2002 to Monday 27 January 2003
The international and Australian contemporary artists in the major exhibition Deep Space: Sensation & Immersion invite us on a journey into physical and electronic spaces of imagery, light and sound. Visitors will literally move through art works, interact with ghostly figures and be submerged in limitless space.
Deep Space and Pathways will be the first exhibitions at the new Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). Both exhibitions will be on view in the world's largest dedicated Screen Gallery a spectacularly vast subterranean space created by converting two railway platforms and measuring more than 110 metres in length, 15 metres width and almost 10 metres in height.
Deep Space features works by 14 artists including Australians; Lynette Wallworth, David Haines and Joyce Hinterding, and international artists; Luc Courchesne (Canada), Mariko Mori (Japan/USA), James Turrell (USA), Gary Hill (USA), Michael Light (USA), Jem Cohen (USA), John Whitney (USA), Pernille Spence (UK), Matthias Mller (Germany), L�zl Moholy-Nagy (Hungary/Germany) and Jean Cocteau (France).
"The audience is invited to immerse themselves in the wonder of the spaces, to explore their physical construction, their digital presence, their filmic pulse and their saturated expanses of colour and light.
said exhibition curator and ACMI Director, Creative Development, Victoria Lynn.
Deep Space: Sensation & Immersion includes a major 'light-room' sculpture by leading American artist James Turrell. His luminous installation stimulates sensations of endless depth, light and time as the viewer's eyes and body adjust to the spaces.
Jean Cocteau's remarkable 1949 cinema classic Orph� traces the mythological journey of Orpheus into the underworld, in search of his deceased beloved, Eurydice. Considered Cocteau's greatest film and a complex exploration of the creative spirit, Orph� occupies a central place in the Deep Space exhibition. Set in contemporary Paris, Orpheus is visited in his apartment by a vision of Heurtebise who encourages him to journey into the underworld of Hades so that he may once again be reunited with Eurydice. Cocteau's Orph� presents a crossing into the eerie, uncanny space beyond, into the unknown.
Drift: 29 days, 18 hours, 2 minutes refers in its title to the length of time humankind has spent in lunar orbit. For his first moving image work, Michael Light edited together thousands of stills from the Apollo photographic archive. Light's Drift is both an alluring document of the extraordinary imagery captured as astronauts first traversed the weightlessness of space, and a visceral sensory experience for those of us who remain earth-bound.
Permutations was created while internationally celebrated American artist and innovator John Whitney was an artist in residence at IBM. This early, influential work in the field of computer graphics built upon his research into the idea that the synthesis of music and moving graphics creates the possibility of altogether new sensorial and emotional experiences. Permutations creates a dialogue between the fluid, layered beats of Indian tabla and the movement of hundreds of tiny points of light.
Other works in the exhibition show the influences of new technologies on contemporary art. Tall Ships, a seminal work by American artist Gary Hill, invites viewers to traverse a long dark corridor where ghostly images of strangers come and go in response to the viewer's presence. An interactive video panorama by French-Canadian Luc Courchesne, The Visitor, Living By Number, encourages participants to converse with the narrative sequence on screen through a system of voice recognition. No longer will the audience sit in the cinema as a passive observer - they will make a virtual journey through the screen into the drama itself.
A body falls gracefully through the air, kilometres from the earth, appearing to hover between falling, then rising again in a fluid dance that suspends and evades gravity. In Pernille Spence's video artwork I Look UpI Look Down, the laws of science are dispelled as a skydiver is seen floating through the air without ever approaching the ground.
Japanese artist, Mariko Mori, presents a video installation, Link, which shows the artist in a transparent capsule in ancient and futuristic landscapes, from the Egyptian pyramids to contemporary Shanghai, New York and London.
Australian artists David Haines and Joyce Hinterding's digital video installation offers a surreal world where the contents of a remote dwelling float through and beyond the earth's atmosphere.
Also from Australia, Lynette Wallworth, creates an intimate corridor, Hold Vessel#1, where images of the night sky and underwater life, derived from powerful telescopes and microscopes, are projected onto small bowls that are carried through the space by the viewer.
Matthias Mller is recognised as one of Germany's most important avant-garde filmmakers and media artists. In Phantom, each face, each body appears, like cinema itself, from beneath a curtain that flutters and flickers to reveal haunted silhouettes that never quite take shape. These secret sensations, resurrected from beneath the surface of the film, appear as light and shadow, seeming to beckon us to follow them on a journey into the deep space of dreaming behind the curtain.
A key precursor to the contemporary artistic manifestations of light, movement and space is the work of Bauhaus artist L�zl Moholy-Nagy. A contemporary interpretation of his 1930 film, Lightplay Black-White-Gray, by Emma Crimmings and Rhys Graham will be screened as part of the exhibition.
Deep Space Cinema Program
A supporting season of films and new media curated by Fiona O'Grady, Clare Stewart and Roberta Ciabarra (ACMI Cinema Programming).
Comprising short experimental and poetic documentary works alongside classic and contemporary features, the Deep Space: Sensation & Immersion film program echoes and responds to key themes in the Deep Space exhibition in the ACMI Screen Gallery: odyssey and myth, time and light, and the construction, dissolution and imaginative reconstruction of memory, experience and space.
The works in the program take audiences on journeys across physical and metaphorical landscapes, inviting explorations of variously constructed, densely layered spatial and temporal dimensions. The films also explicitly explore the psychological journeys of characters moving - literally and imaginatively - through time and interior spaces. David Lynch's Lost Highway, a film at the curatorial heart of the program, propels the audience through an emotionally and psychologically charged landscape of unfixed and shifting parameters. Lynch's characters repeatedly emerge from and dissolve into darkness and light, crossing and complicating elusive boundaries of reality and identity.
The program screens over ten weeks from 17 November 2002 - 21 January 2003. Free matinees screen Sundays at 2pm. Features (admission charges apply) screen Sundays at 4.30pm, with repeat screenings Tuesday evenings at 6.30pm. (A Full program is available on request)
Public Events and Forums
Thursday 21 November 2002
Deep Space: Sensation and Immersion Artist Talk: Lynette Wallworth
Hear innovative new media artist Lynette Wallworth discuss her work Hold Vessel #1 specially commissioned by ACMI.
7-8pm, ACMI Cinema 1
Saturday 23 November 2002
Deep Space: Sensation and Immersion Curatorial Talk: Victoria Lynn
Hear Victoria Lynn, ACMI Director of Creative Development and exhibition curator, discuss the exhibition.
2-3pm, ACMI Cinema 1
Thursday 5 December 2002
Deep Space: Sensation and Immersion Artist Talk: Jon McCormack on John Whitney
Internationally recognised innovator in generative computer grphics Jon McCormack talks about the work and influences of legendary computer artist John Whitney.
Saturday 7 December 2002
Saturday 28 December 2002
Saturday 4 January 2003
Deep Space: Sensation and Immersion Curatorial Talks
Informative introductions to the exhibition by ACMI curatorial and events staff.
2-3pm, ACMI Cinema 1
Saturday 18 January 2003
Deep Space: Sensation and Immersion Forum
Victoria Lynn, ACMI Director of Creative Development and exhibition curator, chairs a half-day forum exploring the notions of sensation and immersion. The forum also features Dr Scott McQuire (University of Melbourne), Dr Pia Ednie-Brown (RMIT University) and Dr Angela Ndalianis (University of Melbourne) and an international guest to be confirmed.
1-5pm, ACMI Cinema 1
Admission: adult $35, concession $25
Deep Space: Sensation & Immersion is presented inconjunction with the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Screen Gallery Hours: Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 October 10am - 5 pm
Monday 28 October to Sunday 10 November 12pm - 6pm
Monday 11 November onwards 10am - 6pm
Closed Christmas Day
Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan
Saturday 26 October 2002 to Mid 2003
Major exhibition of some of the World's oldest, most celebrated and debated art to open Australian Centre for the Moving Image
The Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan exhibition is a major multi-screen audiovisual installation that offers unprecedented insights into the art and culture of the Ngarinyin Aboriginal people of the Kimberley plateau in Australia's northwest. Visitors to Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan will encounter the richness of one of Australia's oldest cultures, and the lifeways that have sustained the Ngarinyin through the tumult and dispossession of the past century.
Pathways features a series of unique screen environments that enfold exhibition viewers in compelling images, sounds and stories. The audio-visual installations track and navigate movement across the land and along ancestral pathways. Personal observations and the layered meanings created by the explanations contribute to a compellingly real sensation of the experience.
The Ngariyin people are a language group of the central Kimberley who refer to themselves as Water-Wanjina people. After more than half a century of exile, the Ngarinyin today are seeking repatriation to their country from which they were mustered up and relocated against their will in the mid-twentieth century.
Until very recently every available publication emphatically stated that Kimberley aborigines had no cultural connections with the people and scenes portrayed in Gwion art. These archaic human figures delicately painted on rock had previously been named 'Bradshaw figures' after the explorer who first described them to the outside world. While colonial attitudes denied any depth to aboriginal culture Bradshaw himself noted obvious similarities between the wigged Gwion figures and the contemporary people he observed in the region in 1892.
The ancient Gwion art as known by Ngarinyin munnumburra (Elders and lawmakers) is graphic evidence holding keys to their native title.
The exhibition is the result of a 10 yearlong collaboration between Ngarinyin Aboriginal Corporation principal elders Ngarjno, Banggal, Nyawarra and Ungudman, and artist filmmaker Jeff Doring.
An ambitious, long-term project to record and communicate the traditions, laws and knowledge of their culture, Pathways impetus reflects the Ngarinyin elders' decision to employ screen-based media and information technologies as potent tools for the transmission and continuity of their cultural identity.
To preserve and ensure the future of their culture the Ngarinyin elders have employed audiovisual and multimedia technologies to build a pathway for their people's cultural future and, simultaneously, have undertaken to share aspects of their culture and knowledge with non-Indigenous societies.
A previous version of the Pathway project with large-scale photography and sound was mounted in the Natural History Museum in Paris in 1997. It coincided with an international rock art conference hosted by the organisation.
The Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan exhibition comprises three major elements spatially arranged to provide an audio-visual journey of discovery for visitors.
Wanjina - Reflections of Wanjina and Water
Firstly there is Wanjina. Here, visitors see floating images of Ngarinyin country and the distinctive Kimberley rock art representing the Wanjina ancestral creative spirits. Presented on both sides of an entry corridor space, the video images are not interpreted - it is as if the exhibition visitor is walking across country, looking around and hearing the sounds of the landscape. The visitor looks back and forth, gathering first impressions of Ngarinyin country before moving into the central space.
Wunan - The Law of Sharing Land and Blood
Here, at the core of the installation, a large three-screen synchronised video panorama dominates. Wunan is a journey through Ngarinyin country beginning with one man's visit to an important ancestral cave in a very remote part of the Kimberley and ending with participation in a complex ceremony involving men, women, teenagers and children. The content is presented in four discrete yet interconnected sequences - Walamba, Jillinya, Wodoi and Jungun, Walungarri. Visitors can sit and watch the munumburra lawmen talking about law, country, knowledge, cosmology and biography. The longer we sit, watch and listen, the more we come to know and the more we are able to develop an understanding of Ngarinyin culture.
Gwion - Ancient Artists of the Human Figure
The Gwion component evokes the spatial characteristics of rock shelters on the Kimberley plateau. The art painted over thousands of years in these caves and escarpments plays a key role in explaining the social history of the people, how their technology arose and the origins of law. The munnumburra lawmen explain some of the techniques and materials of painting and the meaning of images. This incredible rock art, painted and over-painted onto the ancient stone of the Kimberley, provides powerful evidence of enduring Ngarinyin cultural and spiritual practices. It is therefore important to appreciate both the local and global cultural significance of these rock art sites - and their fragility and current lack of legislated protection.
Ngariyin Pathways Dulwan and Deep Space: Sensation & Immersion will be the first exhibitions in the Australian Centre for the Moving Image's vast subterranean Screen Gallery. ACMI's Screen Gallery is the largest Screen Gallery in the world and measures more than 110 metres in length, almost 20 metres in width and almost 10 metres height.
A Dialogue with Paddy Nyawarra and Jeff Doring
Sunday 27 October, 2-3 pm
ACMI Function Room, Level 1, Admission: Free
Join Annette Blonski (Award winning script editor and writer) and Ross Gibson (Research Professor of New Media And Digital Culture UTS), for a discussion with Ngarinyin elder Paddy Nyawarra and filmmaker Jeff Doring on their collaboration in the creation of the Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan exhibition.
Pathways was produced with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission and forms part of the Collection of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image
ACMI Screen Gallery Hours: Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 October 10am - 5 pm
Monday 28 October to Sunday 10 November 12pm - 6pm
Monday 11 November onwards 10am - 6pm
Closed Christmas Day
Media Information and Interviews. Images available on request
Brendan Wall ACMI Tel: 03 8663 2406 / 0417 852 118
Australian Centre for the Moving Image
Federation Square, Flinders Street, Melbourne
Telephone: 03 8663 2200