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ACCA innovates with an online gallery

06 Oct 2020

ACCA innovates with an online gallery Image

By Maeve Bannister

Although the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) is physically closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the art has been taken online with exhibitions and artist talks.

The ACCA team wasted no time in reconfiguring existing programs and took the opportunity to develop new initiatives during Victoria’s lockdown.

ACCA’s executive director Claire Richardson said she was extremely proud of how the ACCA team had quickly pivoted to create and launch ACCA Beyond Walls.

“It’s an innovative program which supports artists to create new work, engages audiences with contemporary art experiences online and off-site, and delivers curriculum-aligned digital education programs beyond our gallery walls,” Ms Richardson said.

“The program has enabled ACCA to continue our mission to do art differently and ensured that ACCA remains the go-to place to engage with art now.”

As part of ACCA Beyond Walls, a new commission series called ACCA Open was created for contemporary digital art projects.

The project allowed ACCA to continue to work with and support contemporary artists during the gallery closures due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The gallery called on Australian artists from all backgrounds, career levels and practices to submit ideas for projects that could be presented digitally.

“There were more than 340 submissions to ACCA Open, from which six exciting projects were chosen, supported by Creative Victoria’s Strategic Investment Fund,” Ms Richardson said.

“Artists have really appreciated the opportunity to develop new works and projects while so many other opportunities were closing down.”

Currently available to view is Multiply by Archie Barry, a sensory excursion into domestic and digitised life, and AOAULI by Léuli Eshraghi, an exploration of ancestral knowledge, drawings, epic poetry, manifestos and performance videos.

Other initiatives in ACCA Beyond Walls include a lecture series delivered as freely accessible videos and podcasts, a public digital billboard project by artist Kent Morris, and an education workshop video series with Melbourne-based artists.

In November ACCA will launch the Walking Tour podcast, which commissions well known Australian writers to create walking tours of Melbourne.

Ms Richardson said the online exhibitions worked by traversing the fields of artificial intelligence, sound, animation, video and archives all via the ACCA website.

“Whether the works are something to watch or read, something to listen to or a chatbot to talk to, each speaks to the breadth of possibility working in the digital realm, and responds to the unusual times and cultural conditions in which they are produced,” Ms Richardson said.

If all goes to plan in the Victorian roadmap to recovery, ACCA would be able to safely have visitors in between mid and late November.

Ms Richardson said the team looked forward to contributing to the social, cultural and economic recovery of Victoria.

“And in the meantime, whether anchored to its physical space, or beyond, ACCA will continue to play an inspirational and critical role investing in our city, our artistic and wider communities, leading the cultural conversation and setting the agenda for contemporary art,” she said.

acca.melbourne

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