A campaign to celebrate ACMI’s screening history between 2002–2016.

Role

Communication design, motion graphics, campaign design.

Project info

Commissioned by ACMI as part of an industry partner brief in conjunction with the RMIT Master of Communication Design Studio. Selected as part of ACMI X talks.

A leading global museum of moving image

ACMI is Melbourne's leading global museum of moving image—film & TV, games, digital culture and emerging forms. With the goal of connecting makers, thinkers, and viewers within a vibrant space, ACMI’s mission is to empower the community to become creative and critical viewers and producers of moving image. As part of an industry partnership between ACMI and RMIT, I was tasked with helping ACMI develop a campaign to celebrate ACMI’s screening history between 2002–2016.

From The Princess Bride to Bullitt — a sample of data from ACMI's screenings listing.

The challenge was to develop a campaign to celebrate the release of ACMI's screening history.

When ACMI released their first batch of 'cultural heritage data' they knew that it would be an uphill battle getting people — even digital humanities folks — to really dig into it. Often collection data is most interesting for what it tells us about the way in which an institution and its collection has developed, and the influence of different collecting philosophies and practices.

Finding a point of interest for audiences

No collection is ever truly ‘representative’ and apart from revealing bias, sometimes taking a birdseye view of a dataset can be more interesting than looking at single objects. Rather than designing a conventional infographic, and asking people to have to do data analysis, my strategy was to present cognitive insights. My hypothesis was that there might be a point of interest researching the curatorial themes and tropes across ACMI's 11,180 sessions. Using a 'hunt' approach I began grouping the most recurring tropes by reading through the IMDB descriptions of each film and additional desktop research. I considered the core business goals—to empower critical filmgoers.

What does it mean to be a critical consumer and how might one begin to critically analyse cinema?

Analysing the data revealed several dominant types of movies.

Now that I had researched more contextual data for each listing, affinity mapping enabled me to uncover several dominant tropes across genres of films. This process also highlighted the diversity of ACMI's programming. No one trope dominated the volume of screenings, with the largest trope only accounting for 12.5% of the total screenings. The key tropes were:

Political-socio commentry
Films with monsters
Romantic conflicts
Disadvantage and inspirational
Animals as lead characters

Designing the communication and insights for a broad audience.

In response, I choose the most instantly recognisable movies within these themes and developed minimalistic icons that would appeal to both young and old. Using ACMI's cinema seats as a visual reference, the total amount of screenings represented the total number of screenings. Occupied seats represented the frequency of a particular trope in those screenings.


The data visualisation extended naturally into a series across merchandise.

Reflection

This series of data visualisations featured on ACMI LABS: Experiments in media, technology & user experience. I was also fortunate enough to present the work at 'ACMI X events'—a monthly series talks about art, tech, entrepreneurship and digital culture.