25 May 2017
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) has announced that one of Australia's leading visual artists, Bidjara man Dr Christian Thompson is set to make his virtual reality debut as winner of the inaugural $80,000 Mordant Family VR Commission.
Thompson's work focuses on the exploration of identity, sexuality, gender, race, and memory. Formally trained as a sculptor, to date his multidisciplinary practice has engaged photography, video, sculpture, performance and sound. This commission will extend his practice into the exciting medium of virtual reality, for the first time.
A bold, new virtual reality work, Thompson's proposed project, Bayi Gardiya (Singing Desert), will invite audiences to walk through a constructed, virtual landscape of his childhood where they will encounter the artist singing in his traditional Bidjara language.
Alongside financial support, Thompson will receive expert advice and support from ACMI in the development phase, as well as a space to work in their co-working studio, ACMI X. Bayi Gardiya will be presented to the public and an edition accessioned into ACMI's collection.
The commission, created in partnership with Catriona and Simon Mordant AM, the City of Melbourne and ACMI, builds on ACMI's existing commissioning initiatives, and heralds a new era of artist support at ACMI for emerging platforms. The Mordant Family VR Commission for Australian artists is worth $240,000 over three years. Entries for the 2018 commission will open in late 2017.