Wednesday, 21 September 2011

'Star Voyager' lifts off as NASA Astronaut touches down at ACMI

Rex Walheim with Hon. Louise Asher MP
Rex Walheim with the Hon. Louise Asher MP
The Hon. Louise Asher MP and NASA Astronaut Rex Walheim this morning opened the Australian Centre for the Moving Image's exhibition, Star Voyager: Exploring Space on Screen, which charts the history and future of space exploration as experienced through the moving image.

A Mission Specialist and Flight Engineer on the recently returned final Space Shuttle Atlantis (July 2011), Rex presented Minister Asher with a commemorative plaque from NASA to 'The State and the People of Victoria' at the opening.

While in Australia, Rex will take part in a program of events including an 'In Conversation' and an Education event broadcast to Victorian schools, both held on Thursday 22 September 2011.

Rex said today; "The film industry has had a big impact on astronauts desires to travel into space - everything from the science fiction we watched in our formative years, to feature films such as Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff, and the documentaries we watched as we grew older. The moving image has had a tremendous impact on inspiring us to pursue our dreams so it is with great pleasure I visit ACMI for the opening of Star Voyager." 

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 as 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 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 said 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 in 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.

The world premiere of Star Voyager: Exploring Space on Screen is on at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square, Melbourne, and will run until 29 January 2012.

Star Voyager: Exploring Space on Screen
22 September 2011 - 29 January 2012
Exhibition open daily 10am - 6pm
ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne
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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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