Mima's Yearbooks — Experimenta

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Modern Image Makers Australia (MIMA) was established in Melbourne 1986 by experimental film and video makers, and quickly became a crucial platform for screen cultures in Australia. It also became instrumental in the development of media art from an underground cultural phenomenon in the 1980s to exhibiting in major galleries, festivals and events. The original MIMA committee – featuring Corinne Cantrill, Dirk de Bruyn, Chris Knowles, Robert Randall, Michael Lee, Sue Goldman, Stephen Goddard, Frank Bendinell and administrator John Smithies – lead an active and prolific stable of avant garde artists, experimental film and video makers, and sound artists whose impacts immeasurably shaped the face of film, video and media art in Australia.  In MIMA’s early years, the organisation toured experimental films around Australia and to international events, featured weekly screenings in Melbourne, championed critical discourse on experimental film in dozens of lectures and talks, and launched Australia’s first national exhibition of film and video. This exhibition and its follow-on festival – dubbed ‘Experimenta’ – became the namesake for the organisation as it exists in its current form. Yet much of MIMA’s extraordinary output is lost, unknown or little recognised.

One of MIMA’s most tangible legacies was a set of film and video ‘yearbooks’ commissioned by the Australian Film Commission for circulation as an educational resource. This series of three, one-hour yearbooks highlighted shorts and extracts considered ‘difficult’ to program and distribute through traditional channels. These yearbooks served to showcase the best in experimental and ‘avant garde’ works created between the mid-1960s to late 1980s, and challenged preconceived notions of film, art and their intersection.

Experimenta has digitised the original MIMA Yearbook tapes, which feature dozens of short films and experimental works produced between 1966-1989. These films are a pre-digital time capsule sampling a fragmented and diverse community whose history reflects the changing nature of experimental film/video art.

To arrange a viewing of the MIDA YEARBOOK highlight reel, please contact us atexperimenta@experimenta.org