Exhibition – Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition @ ACMI

Spanning nine decades of music videos, ACMI‘s Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition was put together for visitors to explore the music video as an art form.

From scopitones to soundies to MTV and Youtube, music videos have continually and will continue to evolve. With each new decade comes new ways to enhance music with imagery and interaction.

Originating in France in the 1960s, Scopitones are films played on jukeboxes that are accompanied by a soundtrack. Soundies are short musical clips produced in the 1940s.

With over 300 clips on show, the exhibition primarily showcases music videos on flat screen televisions mounted to the wall accompanied by 2 pairs of headphones. You’ll be sure to find yourself looking silly dancing to these clips that those around you can see but can’t hear. Unfortunately you can’t select which video to watch, as the clips are programmed to loop through. You’ll either have to watch through all the videos or head to the next exhibit before the video you want to watch appears. This is the only downside of the exhibition.

The funnest part of the exhibition was the interactive section. This section features two interactive video clips by Big Day Out 2014 headliners The Arcade Fire. The clip for 2007’a Neon Bible features frontman and singer Win Butler and allows the viewer to be in control of the movements of the band member with a click of the mouse. The clip can be interacted with here. The Wilderness Downtown video using their 2010 track We Used To Wait uses all sorts of multimedia techniques that allow you to enter your home address and have images of your humble abode and sorroundings featured in the clip. The clip can be interacted with here.

Interactive videos are seemingly becoming a popular form of music videos, with Arcade Fire producing another interactive clip for the recently released Reflektor; Bob Dylan’s 1965 track Like a Rolling Stone was given it’s own interactive clip and Queens of the Stone Age’s 2013 track Vampyre of Time and Memory also getting the interactive treatment.

Steriogram - Walkie Talkie Man 2004
Steriogram – Walkie Talkie Man 2004

A small number of props accompanied some of the clips, including a lego prop from The White Stripes 2002 film clip for Fell in Love With a Girl, the head pieces worn in Björk’s 3D spectacle Wanderlust, and various objects from local lads Children Collide’s Praying For Sunshine.

Featuring heavily in the exhibition is French film-maker Michel Gondry video clips. Gondry has created music videos for the likes of Kylie Minogue, The White Stripes, Björk, The Vines, Kanye West, Paul McCartney and Flight of the Conchords.

The White Stripes - Fell in Love With a Girl
The White Stripes – Fell in Love With a Girl

The tail end of the exhibition pays tribute to Youtube age of videos showcasing a handful of the most well-known fan made covers for the world-famous Beyonce’s Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) and Gotye’s Somebody I Used To Know.

The final section, ‘Agent Provocateur’ is for the over 18s only. A rounded wall with peepholes allows you to view videos that were deemed provocative in their time.

Despite being such a small exhibition, you will end up there for hours enthralled by the tracks you love and know, whilst discovering artists you’ve never heard of or listened to.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. I really really want to see this exhibition. Closes this Sunday…I better get there quick smart 🙂

    1. You definitely should! Maz and I had so much fun. Did she show you the photos I took of the woolen video clip props?

    2. I went for a second time last night, did you end up going?

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