Human Rabbits take on the city


Human Rabbits were seen basking in the sun just outside of the State Library of Victoria on Friday, 28 July 2017. Fifty Human Rabbits were unleashed onto the streets of Melbourne as part of mmmm… collective’s public art performance. PHOTO: Ariani Adam

Fifty masked rabbits don’t go unnoticed. When volunteers with rabbit cardboard-heads on their shoulders marched down the busy Swanston Street last Friday, they instantly turned heads at the first pedestrian crossing.

Organised by the Spanish art collective mmmm… the Human Rabbit Action saw the human rabbits march the streets of Melbourne on 28th July 2017. The big action that went on for two hours from noon, started at the RMIT Gallery itself.


Alberto Alarcón (middle) of mmmm… collective briefing marshals regarding the safety of the volunteers on the event day. Alarcón makes up mmmm… collective together with brother Emilio Alarcón, and siblings Eva Salmerón and Ciro Márquez. PHOTO: Ariani Adam

As with any major art action, preparation was essential. The members of mmmm… had been briefing and actively talking to the volunteers prior to the event day, getting everyone excited for what was to come.

When the big day arrived, volunteers of all ages who were part of the action came together at the gallery as early as 11am to put their rabbit cardboard-heads together with the help of the artists themselves. Without a doubt, their hard work paid off when the rabbits scattered on the streets and engaged the public audience.

One of the volunteers said, “I thought it was great to see the city in a different perspective, although a restricted one, it was cool to see how everyone reacted to the rabbits”.

The Consul General of Spain in Melbourne also took part in the street action performance. Mr. Juan Carlos Gafo Acevedo said, “It was amazing to interact with people and to be thought provoking because that was the whole purpose of it. It was great to be out in the streets, it was fantastic”


Two bunnies were given carrots by strangers while walking down the streets. Their witty Starbucks barista even wrote down “Bugs Bunny” on their coffees to join in the fun. PHOTO: Ariani Adam

Herald Sun Screenshot

Melburnians and tourists mostly responded to the action by grabbing their phones while some confused passers-by took it upon themselves to clarify the cause of action with the volunteers. Some even wanted to buy the rabbit heads, inquiring as to where they could purchase the “cute” novelty. Amidst the amusing comments that were floating around the streets, some people, however, were a little fearful of the action.

Gloria Tanuseputra, a 21-year-old undergraduate student said: “I was a little scared. I thought it looked like a public stunt for an upcoming horror film”.

During the busy lunch break, more phones were brought out, with many people even going out of their way to send it to several media outlets, asking for some explanation to the madness. The Herald Sun picked it up right away, giving the public an insight into the on-going action with an on-the-spot interview by Reece Hooker with mmmm… collective’s Ciro Márquez.


mmmm… collective posing for a photo with the Consul General of Spain in Melbourne (Left to right: Ciro Márquez, Eva Salmerón, Mr. Juan Carlos Gafo Acevedo, Alberto Alarcón and Emilio Alarcón with the rabbit cardboard head). By the end of the Human Rabbit Action, mmmm… collective was happy with the public response. PHOTO: Ariani Adam

Márquez said: “Rabbits are viewed negatively as invasive animals that destroy the local ecosystem, but universally rabbits are seen as cute and cuddly animals, and are considered pets in many countries. These contradictory associations, negative and positive, urge us to openly consider, not without a touch of humour, the concepts of immigration, invasion, group and identity.”

On the topic of group and identity, Eva Salmerón said that it was interesting to see how volunteers in Melbourne have come together. Compared to Spain, where big actions were mainly undertaken by mutual friends or acquaintances, the Melbourne action recruited volunteers from RMIT and social media.

Member of mmmm… collective Emilio Alarcón was very pleased with the outcome of the performance. He said, “I’m very happy especially for the volunteers because they have committed themselves into being rabbits and every one was completely different. I’m happy with the experience and the support from RMIT and the volunteers, it has been amazing”.

With that thought, it would be interesting to note the sense community that we have built in Melbourne, especially in the things we take part in – from art, to music, to even discussions. People from all walks of life are always welcomed to the different interests that we have in common for one sole purpose: the harmony of coming together.

If you’d like to find out more about mmmm… collective’s artwork, come down to RMIT Gallery for their exhibition happening now until the 9th September 2017.

Ariani Adam is a third-year Bachelor’s of Communication (Media) student at RMIT University, currently doing an internship with the RMIT Gallery. 

Skateboarding & printmaking: performance Saturday 21 May


Out of the Matrix: Joel Gailer makes tracks in his live performance art. Photo: Tobias Titz

Skateboarding and printmaking? This Saturday 21 May from 1-2 pm at RMIT Gallery, the printmaking collaboration Performprint will create a work for the exhibition Out of the Matrix using a board, ink and skater Chris Buckman – be there!

Out of the Matrix – the RMIT Gallery printmaking exhibition that celebrates new directions in printmaking, is currently showing at RMIT Gallery until 11 June. Curator Richard Harding says printmaking embraces performance. Think about it – artists move to make prints, turning the wheel on the press, dipping a plate in an acid bath to make an etching. It can be a dazzling show and the best bit is there is never, ever any certainty as to how the print will turn out until it is separated from the matrix.

In the case of Performprint’s performance Bearings, beauty and irrelevance”    the matrix is the carved skateboard wheels.

Artist Joel Gailer, who is completing his PhD in printmaking at RMIT, used to do the action and as these photos by Tobias Titz reveal, he is not slouch when it comes to handling a skateboard. But Gailer says ‘age and knee issues’ have caught up with him when it comes to the great acrobatic tricks that thrill the crowd.

Enter experienced skater Chris Buckman.

Chris Buckman

Skater Chris Buckman will be adding his own marks to Performprint’s live art performance at RMIT Gallery on 21 May as part of the ‘Out of the Matrix’ exhibition

Gailer says that Buckman will be adding his own authorship to the resulting work, having requested skating in four spots of ink rather than one. The print that emerges will all depend on the movements and jumps and falls of Buckman’s skateboard. His actions and prowess on the board will determine the finished artwork.

“Performprint is a collaborative group of artists who are interested in divesting ownership in the work,” Gailer explains.

“Printmaking is very concerned with formal ownership, but we are interested in printmaking that hasn’t been recognised. For instance, branding is a type of ownership.”

Gailer pauses.

“I’ve been branded as a part of my performance.”

In fact, Gailer submitted to the hot branding iron not once, but twice in pursuit of his art and research. You could say it’s the ultimate commitment for his art – and doctoral studies. In two separate performances, Gailer had the phrase “A cool breeze on your hot eggs” seared into his flesh, and then “hot process” branded into his other thigh.

“Yes, it was an extreme act, but it was part of a very intense, 10 hour performance, so I got into a particular head space.”


A spot of ink, carved skateboard wheels and performance – don’t miss watching Performprint in action. Photo: Tobias Titz.

Performprint’s work “Beauty, bearings and irrelevance” created by Buckman is in the exhibition as the performance on 21 May only – the resulting print will not be on display at RMIT Gallery, although audiences are encouraged to photograph and video the action.

The action will take place in the laneway (Rodda lane) behind  RMIT Gallery on Swanston Street. However, audiences are asked to meet at the gallery and follow the signs to the performance.

Join the performance! What can you expect? This is a four channel work created by Performprint as part of Skater Editions for the Signal projection screen. It features a range of performers making experimental prints on canvas using carved skateboard wheels.

What: “Beauty, bearings and irrelevance” Performprint’s live art performance, featuring skater Chris Buckman

When: Saturday 21 May from 1-2 pm (event may finish after 45 minutes)

Where: Rodda lane, RMIT (behind RMIT gallery, 344 Swanston Street Melbourne – follow signs posted at the gallery and walk around the corner)

Bookings: FREE event (with music) more information: 


Bretzels & German beer – we celebrate Ulm School of Design opening!

bretzels IMG_4642

It’s cold outside as Melbourne turns on one of its winter days (sunny and beguiling one minute, storm forecast and rain the next) but city workers, art lovers & RMIT Staff and students who pop into RMIT Gallery at 6 pm tonight for the opening of the Ulm School of Design exhibition will be greeted warmly with German beer and bretzels.

The exhibition will be opened by Michael R Pearce SC, Honorary Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Melbourne, with a special address by Dr Martin Mäntele, Director of the HfG Archive, and Dr Arpad Sölter, the Director of the Goethe-Institut Australien.

Martin IMG_4641

For those unable to share the evening with us, please join us at 12.30-1.30 pm at RMIT Gallery on Friday 1 August for the curator floor talk with Dr Martin Mäntele (pictured) from HfG Archive, and learn about the design & social theory behind the famed ‘Ulm Model’ approach to design methodology. This extended across the five departments; industrial design; visual communication; film; information (journalism) and building and embraced studies ranging from subjects such as semiotics, technology, ergonomics, sociology, and linguistics. 

Welcome to the RMIT Gallery blog

RMIT Gallery is Melbourne’s most vibrant public art and design gallery. It presents changing exhibitions of Australian and international design, including fashion, architecture, fine art, craft, new media and technology.

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