ACMI, The City of Melbourne & The Mordant Family VR Commission Present

Dr Christian Thompson AO: Bayi Gardiya (Singing Desert)

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Watch Christian Thompson's artist talk online here

Bayi Gardiya (Singing Desert) is a bold, ambitious and new virtual reality work.

In it, Christian Thompson invites audiences to walk through the landscape of his childhood, where they will witness a simple yet profound aesthetic gesture of the artist singing in his traditional Bidjara language, a recognised lost language.

How to experience the work

  • Bayi Gardiya runs for approximately 7 minutes
  • Two people can participate at the same time
  • Drop into the Future Lab on Federation Square level to experience the work. Please note, VR works are popular and places are subject to availability on the day

About the artist

Christian Thompson is the first recipient of the Mordant Family Commission VR, a three-year program worth $240,000 that supports Australian artists who have never worked in VR before to create new works in this medium, funded in partnership with philanthropists Simon Mordant AM and Catriona Mordant AM, the City of Melbourne and ACMI.

Christian Thompson is a contemporary artist whose work explores notions of identity, cultural hybridity, and history; often referring to the relationships between these concepts and the environment. Formally trained as a sculptor, Thompson’s multidisciplinary practice engages mediums such as photography, video, sculpture, performance, and sound. His work focuses on the exploration of identity, sexuality, gender, race, and memory. In 2010 Thompson made history when he became one of the first two Aboriginal Australians to be admitted into the University of Oxford in its 900-year history.

Facebook | Instagram | Christian's website

Christian Thompson is represented by Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney / Berlin and Sarah Scout Presents, Melbourne.

Bayi Gardiya credits

  • Creative technology studio: Nakatomi

  • Performed by Christian Thompson

  • Composed by Christian Thompson and Mark Mitchell

  • Sound production by Mark Mitchell at Electric Dreams Studio

  • With special thanks to Rachael Sheridan, Jeanette Little and Leyla Varela

About ACMI Commissions

ACMI commissions new screen-based works through our range of vibrant commissioning programs, including the $100,000 Ian Potter Moving Image Commission, which supported Angelica Mesiti’s The Calling (2014) and Daniel Crooks’ Phantom Ride (2016).

We have premiered commissioned works including Soda_Jerk’s TERROR NULLIUS (2018) and Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto (2015).

In addition to the Mordant Family VR Commission, we've established the $70,000, three-year Artbank + ACMI Commission. The inaugural Artbank + ACMI Commission was awarded to artist and activist Zanny Begg for her video installation The Beehive (2018).