From Tintin to Tom Lehrer and David Bowie to Duncan Jones, there’s a surprise around every corner at the fascinating Star Voyager: Exploring Space on Screen exhibition at ACMI.
Hidden amongst the big ticket items and installations like the On Mars 3D movie and the precious artifacts which have spent time in space (including the Apollo 12 lunar capsule movie camera and Russian Cosmonaut Vladimir Titov’s spacesuit gloves) are some real gems.
There’s some fascinating written correspondence dating from 1964 between Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke in which Kubrick raises the possibility of producing the first “really good” science fiction movie. The fruit of their collaboration was, of course, 2001: A Space Odyssey which became the all-time genre classic. Kubrick also asks Clarke for advice on purchasing a telescope!
Alongside a huge wall of 54 space-related vinyl album covers ranging from Doctor Who and Forbidden Planet to Plan Nine From Outer Space (which can be heard at the listening station), there’s a chance to see Bowie’s original 1969 video for ‘Space Oddity’ (“sitting in my tin can, far above the moon”) released in the year of the first moon landing, and other eerie gems like the Carpenters’ truly out-of-this-world ‘Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft’ and the Vengaboys’ risqué ‘Rocket to Uranus’!
Moving through the gallery there’s also a quick glimpse of Bowie’s Man Who Fell to Earth character in the Soda_Jerk video artwork Astro Black before we catch up with his son Duncan’s 2009 debut feature film Moon, which is represented with a great clip and the spacesuit worn by Sam Rockwell’s character Sam Bell. Suits worn by Star Trek’s Mr. Spock and Austin Powers’ Mini-Me can also be seen in this section.
Cartoon depictions of space abound in Star Voyager with clips from the young Belgian Tintin’s gravity-defying Explorers on the Moon and the classic ‘Deep Space Homer’ epidsode of The Simpsons. Doh!
So many hidden treasures, but did I mention there’s also an indoor terrarium replicating a space garden? And before leaving the exhibition you must check out American satirist Tom Lehrer’s musical take on controversial rocket scientist Wernher von Braun. Chilling stuff.
- Mike Childs, ACMI Visitor Services Officer