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ACMI calls for third $80K Mordant Family VR Commission applications

ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) today announces applications are open for the third $80,000 Mordant Family VR Commission, in partnership with Catriona Mordant AM and Simon Mordant AM, the City of Melbourne and ACMI. Worth $240,000 over three years, the commission supports established Australian visual artists to explore the emerging platform of virtual reality, and builds on ACMI’s vibrant commissioning program of experimental and technology-based artistic practice. 

Open to mid-career and established visual artists, the Mordant Family VR Commission supports gallery-based practitioners to move into VR and associated technologies, encouraging experimentation and enabling the creation of ambitious artworks that push the limits of the medium to engage audiences in new ways. 

The first two recipients of the $80,000 Mordant Family VR Commission are Dr Christian Thompson, whose work Bayi Gardiya(Singing Desert) premieres at ACMI on 1 May and Joan Ross whose work Did you ask the river? will premiere on 7 March. 

Thompson’s Bayi Gardiya (Singing Desert) is an immersive VR experience in which the artist invites audiences to walk through the landscape of his childhood, where they will witness a simple yet profound aesthetic gesture of the artist singing in his traditional Bidjara language – that has been recognised as a lost language. 

Ross’ Did you ask the river? places participants in the shoes of an 18th Century colonial woman. Thrust into a jarring technicoloured rendition of colonial Australia, participants are then allowed free rein to explore and occupy Ross’ dynamic and unsettling contested landscapes. 

ACMI Director and CEO Katrina Sedgwick said: “The medium of VR is still maturing, as practitioners grapple with the challenge of telling stories in 360-degree immersive space. This unique Australian commission, established through the generous support of Catriona Mordant AM and Simon Mordant AM, the City of Melbourne and ACMI, provides a substantial fund for visual artists with an established gallery-based practice to experiment in this space and through this push the boundaries of this medium.” 

Awarded annually, the Mordant Family VR Commission recipient will be granted $80,000 for the development and creation of a new work. Commissions will be selected by a panel of national and international industry experts and will be co-chaired by Simon Mordant AM and ACMI CEO and Director Katrina Sedgwick.  

"Catriona and I are committed to supporting established artists to experiment and create new work using the technology of VR in making immersive and powerful experiences. I look forward to seeing the quality of applications for our third commission in partnership with ACMI and City of Melbourne" said Simon Mordant AM

In addition to financial support, the recipient of each commission will receive expert advice and support from ACMI in the development phase, as well as a work space in ACMI’s vibrant Southbank co-working studio for the screen industries, ACMI X. Each work will be presented to the public and an edition accessioned into ACMI’s collection. 

Applications for the Mordant Family VR Commission are open now and close at 5pm Sunday 7April, 2019. To apply, visit

Applications close
07 Apr 2019
Up to $80,000
Film / TV / Digital
Grant Type
Market development
New work
Presentation & Promotion
Skills development
Applicant Type
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Imogen Craddock