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The Experimental City

  • ACMI Federation Square, Flinders Street Melbourne Australia (map)

Dir. Chad Freidrichs | USA | 2017 | 95 mins

In the 1960s, Athelstan Spilhaus – a visionary scientist and futurist comic strip writer – assembled a team of experts to develop a bold experiment: the Minnesota Experimental City (MXC). Frustrated by the growing problem of urban pollution, Spilhaus designed this new city to employ the latest technologies in communications, transport, pollution control and energy supply – all under a large-scale domed enclosure.

But when a site in northern Minnesota is selected, politicians and sceptical scientists unite to challenge the project. With access to amazing recordings of committee meetings and taped interviews with Spilhaus himself, director Chad Freidrichs paints a most involving portrait of the man, the changing ‘60s and an idea that almost revolutionised the planet.

This film will be followed by a panel discussion. 

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This panel will include:

  • Dr Paul Satur - Monash Sustainable Development Institute

  • Valli Morphett - CEO CoDesign Studio

  • Dr Tanja Beer - Academic Fellow in Performance Design and Sustainability

  • A/Prof Wendy Steele from RMIT University will moderate this discussion

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The Experimental City will screen with Australian short film Darebin's Natural History (12 mins) directed by by Lee Ramsayer-Bache and Nicholas Scott.

EFFA Community Storytelling Project short film by Our Future Cities will also premiere before the film.

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  Valli Morphett Co-Design Studio   Valli Morphett is CEO of CoDesign Studio, a social enterprise that specialises in community-led placemaking and creative engagement. Valli is an energetic optimist, who believes that great places are founded on true collaboration. She is passionate about innovative placemaking, creative engagement and collaborative city making and has spent over a decade driving systemic place-based change. Valli has extensive experience in delivering purposeful placemaking strategies, locally owned activation programs and meaningful place outcomes for diverse sectors including Government, greenfield development, design-construct alliances and universities.

Valli Morphett
Co-Design Studio

Valli Morphett is CEO of CoDesign Studio, a social enterprise that specialises in community-led placemaking and creative engagement. Valli is an energetic optimist, who believes that great places are founded on true collaboration. She is passionate about innovative placemaking, creative engagement and collaborative city making and has spent over a decade driving systemic place-based change. Valli has extensive experience in delivering purposeful placemaking strategies, locally owned activation programs and meaningful place outcomes for diverse sectors including Government, greenfield development, design-construct alliances and universities.

  Dr Paul Satur Our Future Cities   Dr Paul Satur is a Co-Founder of Our Future Cities. For the past two years his organisation has collaborated across sectors, institutes and communities to build capacities and promote opportunities for diverse voices to shape the future sustainability, liveability and resilience of our cities. Paul is also an environmental and social science researcher and practitioner with the Centre for Water Sensitive Cities as part of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute.

Dr Paul Satur
Our Future Cities

Dr Paul Satur is a Co-Founder of Our Future Cities. For the past two years his organisation has collaborated across sectors, institutes and communities to build capacities and promote opportunities for diverse voices to shape the future sustainability, liveability and resilience of our cities. Paul is also an environmental and social science researcher and practitioner with the Centre for Water Sensitive Cities as part of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute.

  A/Prof Wendy Steele Panel moderator   Wendy Steele is an Associate Professor in Cities, Sustainability and Planning co-located in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies (GUSS) and the Centre for Urban Research (CUR) at RMIT University, Melbourne. Her research focuses on cities in a climate of change with an emphasis on critical urban governance.

A/Prof Wendy Steele
Panel moderator

Wendy Steele is an Associate Professor in Cities, Sustainability and Planning co-located in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies (GUSS) and the Centre for Urban Research (CUR) at RMIT University, Melbourne. Her research focuses on cities in a climate of change with an emphasis on critical urban governance.

  Dr Tanja Beer Academic Fellow in Performance Design and Sustainability   Dr Tanja Beer is an award-winning ecological designer, community artist and Academic Fellow in Performance Design and Sustainability (Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne). She has more than 20 years professional experience, including creating numerous artworks and designs for a variety of theatre companies, venues and festivals in Australia and overseas. Her practice integrates sustainable design and theatre-making with urban ecology and well-being science to catalyse community engagement on environmental issues. Tanja’s most significant work is The Living Stage, a global initiative that combines stage design, horticulture and community engagement to create recyclable, biodegradable, edible and biodiverse performance spaces. Since its inception in 2012, The Living Stage has been successfully realised in Castlemaine, Armidale, Glasgow, Cardiff, New York and Lorne and won the 2016 Glasgow City Council Environmental Initiative Award (with theatre company Eco Drama) for its contribution to creating healthy cities for children. Tanja’s current practice-led research is focused on children’s agency on environmental issues through community engaged arts practice. Also see: www.tanjabeer.com

Dr Tanja Beer
Academic Fellow in Performance Design and Sustainability

Dr Tanja Beer is an award-winning ecological designer, community artist and Academic Fellow in Performance Design and Sustainability (Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne). She has more than 20 years professional experience, including creating numerous artworks and designs for a variety of theatre companies, venues and festivals in Australia and overseas. Her practice integrates sustainable design and theatre-making with urban ecology and well-being science to catalyse community engagement on environmental issues. Tanja’s most significant work is The Living Stage, a global initiative that combines stage design, horticulture and community engagement to create recyclable, biodegradable, edible and biodiverse performance spaces. Since its inception in 2012, The Living Stage has been successfully realised in Castlemaine, Armidale, Glasgow, Cardiff, New York and Lorne and won the 2016 Glasgow City Council Environmental Initiative Award (with theatre company Eco Drama) for its contribution to creating healthy cities for children. Tanja’s current practice-led research is focused on children’s agency on environmental issues through community engaged arts practice. Also see: www.tanjabeer.com

Earlier Event: October 15
International Shorts
Later Event: October 16
The Panguna Syndrome