ACMI's World-Premiere 'Beings' Exhibition Will Feature Installations That Respond Differently to Every Visitor

The playful winter 2024 showcase explores the work of art and design collective Universal Everything, featuring 13 pieces from its 20-year career.
Sarah Ward
March 04, 2024

Digital art is taking over the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in a huge way in 2024. The Melbourne venue might be known for its cinemas, as well as past exhibitions about Martin Scorsese, David Bowie, Disney animation and women in Hollywood, but it doesn't just celebrate movies and television. If it can grace screens, it can feature here — including at the Marshmallow Laser Feast: Works of Nature showcase that's displaying until April, and then at just-announced fellow world-premiere Beings.

Interactive pieces using innovative technology firmly fit ACMI's remit, which is exactly what its big winter exhibition will be about. The playful event explores the work of art and design collective Universal Everything, featuring 13 pieces from its 20-year career. And the experience that you have while walking through Beings won't be the same as anyone else's.

Future You' by Universal Everything, installation view, Digital Impact, Barcelona, Spain, photo by Eva Caraso.

On display from Wednesday, May 22–Sunday, September 29, 2024, this new reason to head to ACMI wants attendees to not merely look at, but also move and dance in front of its large-scale screens and projected artworks. Beings' pieces will respond differently to each visitor, using evolving algorithms and generative technology. That makes you part of the art as well.

Founded in 2004, Universal Everything began in a garden studio in Sheffield, England, which is where Creative Director Matt Pyke initially set up shop. Now, the collective — which includes animators, architects, cinematographers, designers, developers, engineers and musicians — works globally. Its creations display around the world, too, with stints in London, Seoul, Paris, Istanbul and New York before its upcoming Melbourne exhibition.

'Friends' by Universal Everything

Beings' pieces — four of which will be brand-new world-premiere artworks themselves — frequently use the kind of tech that Hollywood studios and video-game makers deploy. Expect to peer at and play with an assortment of characters, and to feel like you've stepped into a movie or a game as well.

The exhibition will unravel Universal Everything's creative process, including via hand-drawn sketches that'll be seen by the public for the first time.

'Into the Sun' by Universal Everything, installation view, Lifeforms exhibition, 180 Studios, photo by Jack Hems.

"This is technology with heart and soul. Innovative, interactive and enriching, Universal Everything's joyous creations bring warmth and a sense of humanity. Whether you have an eye for design, an interest in new tech or are simply looking for some fun, this family-friendly experience will leave you with a smile. ACMI is the home of endless play this winter — no two visits to Beings will be the same," said ACMI Director and CEO Seb Chan, announcing the exhibition.

"I relish this opportunity to push our studio practice even further, with some never-before-seen artworks created for Melbourne audiences. And as ever, I'm looking forward to being surprised by unexpected visitor responses to the show. We hope they have lots of fun," added Universal Everything's Pyke.

'Future You' by Universal Everything, installation view, More than Human, Afundación, A Coruña, Spain, image courtesy of the artists.

As is ACMI's custom, an exhibition at the Federation Square venue spans more than just the showcase itself. While the specifics are still to be revealed, there'll be late-night access, as well as a new contemporary dance series that features Melbourne choreographers.

Beings is also family-friendly, so activities for kids — for preschoolers in general, and over the school holidays — are on the agenda.

'Transfiguration' by Universal Everything'.

'Kinfolk' by Universal Everything.

''Maison Autonome' by Universal Everything, installation view, image courtesy of the artists.

'Symbiosis' by Universal Everything.

Beings will display at ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne, from Wednesday, May 22–Sunday, September 29, 2024 — head to the ACMI website for further details or to get tickets.

Images: courtesy of Universal Everything. Top image: 'Infinity' by Universal Everything.

Published on March 04, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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