Journey down the rabbit hole at ACMI’s brand new exhibition WONDERLAND celebrating the screen history of Lewis Carroll’s timeless stories of Alice and her various adventures in Wonderland.
Made in Melbourne by the team at ACMI, this wholly original exhibition presents over 300 unique objects sourced from all around the world. Displayed in interactive and visually interesting ways, first edition publications, magic lantern projectors, concept drawings, animation cels, spectacular costumes, puppets and props come to life.
You’ll be wowed by the theatrical exhibition design and digitally immersive experiences that will have you guessing between reality and illusion.
Your adventure begins as you descend down the rabbit hole (stairs) to find yourself in a replica of in Lewis Carroll’s drawing room complete with William Morris wallpaper and some of his earliest works. There you’ll collect your interactive ‘Lost Map of Wonderland’ which guides your journey through the exhibition and unlocks surprising experiences.
If you are of a petite stature you can crawl through a little door into the Hallway of Doors. There’s a regular sized door there too if you don’t fancy crawling. Here you’ll find some of the earliest works inspired by Alice in Wonderland, including the first 1903 film.
You’ll grow and shrink at the White Rabbit’s house and be absolutely confounded by the digital magic that is A Mad Tea Party.
I was truly blown away by how amazing the Tea Party experience was. You sit down at an empty table and as the lights dim, a landscape grows and changes around you while the plates magically fill with food. I don’t want to give too much away, it’s something you really need to experience for yourself. The surprise is delightful.
Kids will love the creating their own character to paint the roses red in The Queen’s Croquet Ground. A scanning device will take a photo of you face and playing card design to create an entertaining animation where you become one of the Queen’s guard. It’s really quite a lot of fun.
I grew up watching Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, so I was particularly excited to see some of the original concept art by Mary Blair. Her art was never actually used in the finished film but it heavily influenced the art direction in the film. Seeing Blair’s actual work as well as original cels from the film was so special.
It’s interesting to see just how many ways Lewis Carroll’s stories have been interpreted over the last century. Over 40 films and 30 TV programs have adapted the work in some way and it shows that Alice’s story has remained relevant in all that time. WONDERLAND does a great job of demonstrating how Alice has played a part in the evolving magic of film craft and it’s development of special effects from the earliest optical toys to CGI.
Costume lovers like me will delight in seeing some really stunning pieces including costumes from the recent Tim Burton films.
The exhibition concludes with an 18 screen tribute of all the Alices.
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”
WONDERLAND has something to delight and surprise adults and children alike. Whether you’re a fan film making, story telling, pop culture or just love a bit of old school Alice, you’ll be swept away by this curious exhibition.
WHERE: ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne
WHEN: 5 April – 7 Oct 2018
Open daily 10am–5pm
HOW MUCH: Full $25 Family $65 Concession $21 Child $16 Member $20
My Poppet was invited to the media preview of WONDERLAND for the purposes of this review.