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The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) will present the world premiere of Star Voyager: Exploring Space on Screen, a major exhibition charting the history and future of space exploration as experienced through the moving image.

Visitors to Star Voyager will see the world premiere of an intruiging new work, developed in Melbourne by the Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology. The (currently untitled) work, created with data gathered by Mars Rovers ‘Spirit’ and ‘Opportunity’, allows visitors to explore the surface of Mars in 3D. 

Filmmakers’ and artists’ imaginings of space travel, from Georges Méliès’s A Trip to the Moon (1902), the first footage of a human on the moon in 1969, and recent films such as Duncan Jones’ Moon (2009) and James Cameron’s Avatar (2009), have allowed us to experience through the moving image what most of us can only dream of. Star Voyager celebrates this imagination and exploration through over 100 years of the moving image. 

Combining scientific and documentary footage together with feature films and video artworks, the exhibition blurs the distinction between fact and fiction to examine how the creative imagination and a desire for discovery have inspired artists, filmmakers and scientists through generations. Inspiration shared between these disciplines has encouraged new visions and technologies which allow us to continually venture into the unknown in the attempt to understand more about our universe and about humanity itself. 

"rare feature film and documentary footage"

Star Voyager includes rare feature film and documentary footage, video artworks, television clips, animations, as well as film ephemera such as models, costumes and production materials, to reveal the relationship between the moving image and space – fact and fiction. The exhibition features a space-flown camera aboard NASA’s Apollo 12 mission and other space-flown objects, costumes and models from 2001:A Space Odyssey (1968), Sunshine (2007) and Star Trek (1979), as well references of space in popular culture such as music video clips. 

Melbourne-based artist Peter Hennessey has been commissioned to create a new space-themed interactive installation. In addition, Hennessey’s My Lunar Rover (2005) and My Voyager (2004), an actual-size model of the Voyager 2 spacecraft, will be on show. Thirty-four years after the Voyager mission was launched it remains the vehicle for humanity’s furthest exploration of the Universe. 

ACMI Director, Tony Sweeney, says that the human experience and knowledge of space travel has been profoundly affected by the moving image. “Yuri Gagarin’s mission launched on April 12, 1961 marked an extraordinary transition in one of mankind’s oldest aspirations – to be able not just to look into space and imagine what was there, but actually to voyage there and experience it directly. 

“From the first images of a human journeying into space in 1961, to the groundbreaking television broadcast of the first steps on the moon by Neil Armstrong on 20 July 1969, recorded footage of human space exploration quickly became as significant as the missions themselves. Images beamed around the world since the 1960s have captured the public imagination and inspired artists, scientists and travellers in unforeseeable ways.” 

"humankind’s enduring fascination with space"

ACMI celebrates humankind’s enduring fascination with space in the year that marks the 50th anniversary of the first manned flight into space by Yuri Gagarin in his Vostok spacecraft , as well as the 50th anniversary of the completion of Australia’s Parkes Radio Telescope in New South Wales, which was used to transmit the television signals that allowed 600 million people to watch the Apollo 11 moon walk live. 

ACMI Curators Emma McRae and Sarah Tutton have worked closely with a number of collaborators to realise this exhibition, including the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology, and the Stanley Kubrick Archive, among others.

A series of film programs, public talks, tours, workshops and education programs for all ages will be developed to coincide with the exhibition. 

Published May 19, 2011

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Apollo 12

World premiere exhibition 

September 22, 2011 –January 29, 2012 

Australian Centre for the Moving Image
Federation Square, Melbourne

Alexei Leonov

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