Thursday, 1 September 2011

ACMI's touchdown: NASA Astronaut launches Star Voyager exhibition

Rex Walheim
NASA Astronaut Rex Walheim
NASA Astronaut Rex Walheim will officially open the Australian Centre for the Moving Image's forthcoming exhibition, Star Voyager: Exploring Space on Screen, when he visits Melbourne on Wednesday 21 September 2011. 

A Mission Specialist and Flight Engineer on the recently returned final Space Shuttle Mission, Atlantis (July 2011), Rex will be the special guest of honour at the opening of ACMI's major new exhibition which charts the history and future of space exploration as experienced through the moving image.

While in Australia, Rex will take part in a program of events including In Conversation with Astronaut Rex Walheim and an education program, among others. More information and events will be announced in the coming weeks. 

Star Voyager celebrates imagination and exploration through over 100 years of the moving image. 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 films such The Dish (2000) and Moon (2009), have allowed us to experience through the moving image what most of us can only dream of.

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.

Star Voyager includes rare films 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. The exhibition features a space-flown camera from NASA's Apollo 12 mission film costumes and models from 2001:A Space Odyssey (1968), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), Sunshine (2007) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), as well references of space in popular culture such as music video clips.

ACMI Director Tony Sweeney says that the human experience and knowledge of space travel has been profoundly affected by the moving image.

"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."

Visitors to the exhibition will see the world premiere of an exciting new short film, developed here in Melbourne especially for Star Voyager by the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology. On Mars 3D has been created using state of the art CGI technology and topological data gathered by the Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The unique film experience within the exhibition will allow visitors to explore a recreation of the red planet in exquisite detail.

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 signals humanity's furthest exploration of the Universe.

Astronaut Rex Walheim's visit to ACMI comes in a year of space exploration milestones, including the end of NASA's 30 year Space Shuttle program. 2011 also 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.

Star Voyager: Exploring Space on Screen will have its world premiere at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square, Melbourne, on 22 September 2011 and will run until 29 January 2012. NASA Astronaut Rex Walheim will launch the exhibition in Melbourne on 21 September, 2011. More event details to follow. Vistit:


Further information

Claire Butler
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2415 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 654
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