MUSIC videos have long encouraged creativity for emerging filmmakers. Samantha Toh visited ACMI’s latest exhibition and spoke to its curators to see how music videos have been ingrained into pop culture.
Having recently launched at ACMI, Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition is a visual treat sure to astound and impress Melbournians.
Comprising more than 300 music videos spanning 90 years, Spectacle provides an innovative exploration into the art and history of music videos. With videos including jazz clips of the 1920s through to contemporary videos by Lady Gaga, Gotye, Björk and many more, Spectacle is arguably the most comprehensive survey of music video history.
The exhibition is split into nine thematic sections: ‘In the Beginning’, ‘Shadows and Light’, ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, ‘Art House’, ‘Epic’, ‘Agent Provocateur’, ‘Body Language’, ‘Remix’ and ‘Interactive’.
Far from being your average art show however, each colourful segment from the exhibiton features interactive installations, original props, costumes as well as pre-production storyboards from some of the various exhibited music videos.
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.” – Jonathan Wells, curator
While Spectacle has already taken New York and Sao Paolo by storm, its Australian rendition has a uniquely Aussie spin. Working with ABC TV’s music video program, Rage, curators Jonathan Wells and Meg Grey Wells bring to the Australian edition of Spectacle an additional 40 Australian music videos into the already action-packed exhibition.
According to Jonathan, Australia has contributed significantly to the craft and history of music video making, and nowhere else in this country would Spectacle feel quite as at home as it does in Melbourne.
“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,” Jonathan said.
Curator Meg Grey Wells, had much to say about the qualities inspired by music videos.
“Music videos are the ultimate young person’s form of expression. If you’re going to pick up a camera and fool around, you’re most likely going to set it to music, so on a very elementary level, it’s always been driven by culture and our love of music and wanting to see things.”
Music videos are the ultimate young person’s form of expression.” – Meg Grey Wells, curator
She would also go on to discuss how elements of the gallery space showcase music’s influence on popular culture today.
“In the ‘Remix’ and ‘Interactive’ sections of the exhibit, you’ll see the art form getting pushed in many ways. Interactivity is not just about technology, it’s about the filmmaker’s relationship with [their] audience and what the audience or fans do with the video that spawns new forms of the video.”
Meg would go on to explain that in interacting with an artist’s music video, the Internet has made great use of repurposing existing material into viral sensations which includes variations of Single Ladies, Call Me Maybe and the Harlem Shake.
As for students studying film-making or other forms of art, Meg feels that they’ll be able to absorb as much as they can from music video directors.
“Hopefully [students will] take away that [music videos] are a very viable form of artwork to work in,” Meg said.
We want young people to feel inspired, to create [and] to challenge the medium.” – Meg Grey Wells, curator
“Natasha Pinkus who did Goyte’s Somebody That I Used To Know, wasn’t really known before she did that video and now she’s out there in the world and it’s probably leading to lots of different kinds of work. We want young people to feel inspired, to create [and] to challenge the medium.“
Established filmmakers like David Fincher (The Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) and Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) began their film-making careers in music videos. Students and emerging filmmakers have the potential to follow a similar trajectory too.
Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibiton is currently being exhibited at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Gallery 1. Tickets to the exhibit can be booked online at ACMI’s official website or bought directly at their box office. For more information about the exhibit, visit the exhibit’s official page on ACMI’s website.