Spectacle: a new exhibition studies the massive medium of music video

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It was around the mid-1980s that music video really took off. Some of us weren’t even born then, and could be forgiven for thinking video has been around for eons before that. One thing’s for certain, music video wasn’t as ubiquitous then as it is today – they didn’t have avenues like YouTube in the ’80s.

So, for a gallery to take on the massive task of curating an exhibition of the best music videos ever, is a pretty bold move! And that’s just what the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) have done, presenting 350 video works, from the experimental to the extravagant, all under the banner of ‘Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition’.

Of course the exhibition features clips from that great wave of artists in the ’80s, such as Madonna, George Michael and AC/DC, but it also presents video snippets from pioneering icons (let’s just call them pre-MTV) such as Bob Dylan, The Beatles and David Bowie, while also bringing things to date with examples by the likes of Gotye, Arcade Fire and Kanye West.

Spectacle is experienced through a dynamic fusion of interactive installations, projections, videos and immersive environments, including recreated sets and original objects never before seen outside of the videos themselves.

Indeed, true to its name, it really is one amazing spectacle.

See it if you’re in or around Federation Square, Melbourne. 

Spectacle: The Music Video Exhibition is on at ACMI until February 23, 2014. For more information, visit www.acmi.net.au/spectacle.