We’re thrilled to announce Joan Ross as the recipient of the second $80,000 Mordant Family VR Commission for her proposed work Did you ask the river?, an immersive exploration of Ross’ vibrant landscapes of colonial Australia.
Working across video, animation, print, sculpture and installation, Joan Ross’ bold and experimental practice investigates the legacy of colonialism in Australia. Did you ask the river? transposes Ross' Australia to VR, reimagining her intricate 2D animations as immersive worlds in the form of a first-person video game.
Did you ask the river? places participants in the shoes of an 18th Century colonial woman. Thrust into a jarring rendition of colonial Australia, participants are then allowed free reign to explore and occupy Ross’ dynamic and unsettling contested landscapes.
About the commission
A partnership between Catriona and Simon Mordant AM, ACMI and the City of Melbourne
In 2017, ACMI joined forces with Australian collectors and philanthropists Catriona and Simon Mordant AM, and the City of Melbourne to launch The Mordant Family Commission, Australia’s first VR and mixed reality commissioning program.
Open to mid-career and established visual artists, the Mordant Family VR Commission supports gallery-based practitioners to move into VR, encouraging experimentation and enabling the creation of ambitious artworks that push the limits of technology to engage audiences in new ways.
Awarded annually over three years, the Mordant Family VR Commission recipient will be granted $80,000 for the development and creation of a new work. Commissions will be selected by a panel of national and international industry experts including Seb Chan, chief experience officer, ACMI; Fiona Trigg, senior curator, ACMI; John Allsopp, author and developer; Natalie Kane, curator of digital design at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and Rebecca Coates, Director, Shepparton Art Museum, and will be co-chaired by Simon Mordant and ACMI Director and CEO Katrina Sedgwick.
The inaugural Mordant Family VR Commission recipient was Dr Christian Thompson, one of Australia’s leading visual artists.
Thompsons’ proposed work Bayi Gardiya (Singing Desert) is a bold, ambitious and new virtual reality work. In it he 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 language that has been recognised as extinct.
Learn more about his previous work here.