Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Sunday 16 September 2018

Wonderous Wonderland

With a bit of meandering at the start, Jennie shares her recent visit to Wonderland, Alice’s magical world in the heart of Melbourne.

I had an overnighter in Melbourne this last week that turned into an ace literary experience. The purpose was to attend a Reading Leaders event to listen to an amazing speaker, Donalyn Miller, who is a mighty advocate for reading – free choice, high interest, every day, in school and at home. She was brilliant, but not the focus of this post. So as the King gravely said: “Begin at the beginning, and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

With most of a day to fill before heading home the day after, I headed to the Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI) – across the road from Flinders Street Station to enter Alice’s wonderful world of Wonderland. Heading down the stairway into the rabbit hole is just like stepping into … wonderland!

With the Cheshire Cat looking on ominously, map in hand and an explanation of how it can trigger magical mirror moments I choose a door and start to explore.

Bit which door??????

“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don't much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.
Alice: ...So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”   

This interactive exhibition commences with informative panels about Lewis Carroll, his craft and photographic exploits. As you progress through Wonderland you move through different episodes in the story – the pool of tears, the caterpillar, the house and elixir and ...  so much more. Each area includes a loop of film mashups of different versions of Alice from 1903 to the more recent Johnny Depp spectacular. Watching a succession of young Alice’s reciting the same words in multiple interpretations was 'Curiouser and curiouser! … 

Interactive opportunities are set up throughout your journey. The narrow house to stand within to make you ‘grow tall’ and the amazing room for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – I went to tea three times – because “It's always tea-time.”

Visit the Queen’s croquet ground, decorate your map, enter into ‘the machine’ and become a soldier card on the croquet field – live the magic!

Original props and costumes, miniature stage sets, puppets, models and figurines – ACMI have done an amazing job sourcing authentic items from past film versions to compile historical research, photography and film footage. This is a unique, fascinating and highly engaging trip into Wonderland that you should try very, very hard to visit if Melbourne is on your agenda before the 7 October.

ACMI, through their vivid visualisations have exemplified Alice’s own views “And what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?” —and ACMI has made this a rich text indeed! This journey into Wonderland continues at home when you unlock the ACMI site and with the unique magic key (on your map) to access your soldier portrait and explore the world and revisit much of the information.

If you are heading to Melbourne put this on your "must do" list as it closes on 7 October before heading overseas for an international tour.

Jennie Bales
“Have i gone mad?
I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usually are.”

1 comment:

  1. ACMI do such great displays - so excited that I will be in Melbourne closing weekend, and have time to go to the exhibition!