ACMI, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, is shutting its doors for redevelopment. But that doesn’t mean its screens will go dark.
The project – dubbed ACMI Re/new – will see the ACMI site at Federation Square close from May 24, reopening again mid-2020. The good news for film fans is the museum’s programming schedule – including festivals, talks, features and more – will continue at two Melbourne CBD cinemas, Treasury Theatre and the newly renovated The Capitol, RMIT University.
The Capitol on Swanston Street, across from the Melbourne Town Hall, will continue to host Cineamatheque, Australia's largest and longest-running film society celebrating rare and significant works of international cinema. It screens every Wednesday. The Capitol will also be the HQ of ACMI’s regular festival programs and film screenings.
Meanwhile the Treasury, located beneath Treasury Place on McCarthur Street near Parliament House, will be ACMI’s home of matinee screenings and monthly Filmoteca screenings showing the best in Latin American and Spanish film.
ACMI’s programming during its Re/new phase won’t be restricted to film however. The museum has partnered with Jackalope Art Collection to bring the London-art collective Random International’s popular artwork Rain Room to Melbourne for its Australian premiere.
Rain Room is a 100-square-metre field of continuous rainfall that responds to your presence by ceasing to fall wherever you move through it. The magical experience means the viewer is both fully immersed in rain while also protected from it. According to Random International the work aims to “explore how human relationships to each other and to nature are increasingly mediated through technology.”
Following blockbuster showings at LACMA in Los Angeles (2015/6), the Yuz Museum in Shanghai (2015 and 2018), the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013), and London’s Barbican (2012), Rain Room will come to Melbourne in 2019 in partnership with ACMI. Where exactly it will appear is currently under wraps.
“Innovation is in ACMI’s DNA,” says director & CEO Katrina Sedgwick of the museum’s new phase. “With support from the Victorian Government, partners and donors, we’re embracing emerging technologies and design philosophies to redefine contemporary museum experiences to better serve our audiences."
As part of ACMI’s redevelopment plans it’s also being upgraded with new features. These include new free exhibition spaces, immersive technology experiences, a media preservation lab, new education labs, a new cafe and bar, a foyer space, and a specialist shop.
“At the heart of the new ACMI is our free permanent exhibition, which will take audiences on an immersive journey through the past, present and future of the moving image,” says ACMI Renewal chief curator Sarah Tutton in a statement. “From the first projections and optical illusions to the birth of film and beyond, moving images have the power to spark imagination, share stories and shape history. Our story has a global perspective, but is deeply rooted in our culture and country.”
A new website, renew.acmi.net.au will act as the museum’s online hub throughout the redevelopment process (live May 24). You can also subscribe to its newsletter to stay abreast of the goings on and renewal details.
Broadsheet is a proud media partner of ACMI.