Collisions, currently on show for free at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, is an innovative virtual reality documentary. Watched on a VR headset, the story unfolds around you, in 360 degrees. It is the amazing story of Nyarri Nyarri, an Aboriginal man living in the Western Australian desert in the 1950s who became an unwitting witness to an incredible event – a nuclear explosion in the Outback, conducted as part of a sequence of UK atomic tests. The documentary leaves some important questions unanswered (what happened afterwards?) but also captures hauntingly this surreal collison between two words, with the cutting edge technology going some way to recapturing the disorienting future shock Nyarri Nyarri must have felt himself on that dusty Central Australian plain sixty years ago.
ACMI also has quite an impressive permanent collection including a display of some of the work of leading Aboriginal conceptual artist Tracey Moffatt and you can watch her iconic 1989 work “NIght Cries:A Rural Tragedy” in full.
Other screendings included a range of fantastically camp 1970s Australian television (“Prisoner: Cell Block H” features prominently), a 1920s german animation based on Javanese shadow puppets, displays of the collaboration between Aussie cinematographer Christoper Doyle and Wong Kar Wai and in the basement, a room full of floating balloon-sharks and flashing lights.