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ACMI’s Wonderland: An exhibition that only gets curiouser and curiouser

Isabella Foster

Fri Apr 20 2018


I can confidently say in my own personal experience that I have never had to get down on my hands and knees and crawl through a tiny doorway to enter a museum. However, this was only the beginning to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image’s new exhibition, Wonderland.

With a history that spans more than 150 years, Lewis Carrol’s beloved tale, Alice in Wonderland, has come alive once again within this time within the halls of the ACMI. From Caroll’s initial scribbles where he first envisioned the world of Wonderland right through to Tim Burton’s recent interpretations, the exhibition’s trajectory oftens feels much like the endless winding corridors of Wonderland; taking visitors on Alice’s journey through history and technology.

Wonderland begins with a replica of Carroll’s dimly lit but cosy drawing room before visitors are handed their own ‘Lost Map of Wonderland’. The tool is not just for navigation however; it also functions as a device that unlocks and enhances elements of visitor’s upcoming adventure.

Visitors are given a map to explore the exhibition and learn more about the world of Wonderland. | Photo: Phoebe Powell

Through all eras of cinema, from silent black and white to quirky hand drawn animations, stop motion pieces and CGI creations, Alice’s fall down the rabbit hole takes all forms.

With more than 40 film adaptations and 30 television programs retelling the timeless story, the exhibition is filled with memorabilia from Alice’s journey through popular culture. Costumes, puppets, props and original illustrations decorate pathways as visitors are able to see the story of Alice come to life.

However the exhibition is so much more than a walk through history. It is also an immersion into a world so different from our own. Through the capabilities of modern technology, visitors are able to experience moments just like Alice did, such as sitting at the table of the infamous tea party or playing a game of flamingo and hedgehog croquet (no real animals take part, don’t worry).

An exhibition that caters to young and the young at heart! Wonderland is sure to leave visitors spellbound. | Photo: Phoebe Powell

Made in Melbourne, Wonderland has brought together ACMI’s creative and curatorial expertise together with Australian collaborators to create both a journey through history and technology in an exhibition that explores Alice’s place in both the past and modern times. Beyond the exhibition, ACMI will also be programming a selection of Alice in Wonderland-related screenings in its very own cinemas which will include the classic Disney animation from 1951.

An interactive world in its world premiere season, it’s definitely not something to miss.

Wonderland is now open at ACMI and will be running til October 7, 2018. Bookings are essential as entry to the exhibition is timed. Tickets are available at ACMI’s official website.