Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) :: Alex Davies

16 June – 28 August 2006, Liverpool UKThe primary activity undertaken through the fund was the presentation of Dislocation at the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) as part of the ‘Experimenta, Under the Radar’ exhibition. The exhibition was a survey of fourteen works by Australian media artists. It took place between the 16th of June and the 28th of August, 2006. In addition to the exhibition in the UK, I also spent several weeks in Japan undertaking a research residency.

About FACT
FACT is a large institution located in Liverpool, UK that focuses on the exhibition of electronic arts. My initial impression of FACT was that it is quite similar to ACMI in Melbourne. There are architectural similarities and also common curatorial practices. It is a fantastic exhibition space as it has been purpose built with the infrastructure specifically tailored to the presentation of media arts. It was a refreshing change working in this kind of environment as often works of this nature are presented in ill-suited exhibition spaces and are therefore compromised.

About Dislocation
Dislocation is a gallery-based interactive installation in which the locational data (real time video, and audio) of the audience are employed to create the illusion of additional characters inhabiting the installation space.

Lizzie Muller in RealTime 70 writes about the work: “In AIex Davies’ Dislocation (Australia 2005), 4 small mounted monitors are set back in one wall of the enclosed installation space. You need to approach them closely to see what they are showing. It takes a moment to realise that what you can see is your own back, and those of your neighbours peering at the adjacent monitors. The screen flickers slightly, as if there is a minor disruption in transmission, and someone else enters the gallery, nearer to the camera, talking on a mobile phone. The sense of their presence behind you is spine-tinglingly palpable, as is the illicit feeling that you are eavesdropping on their conversation. But glance over your shoulder and you find the room is empty. The other presence was a phantom, a ghost in the machine. I watched people dissolve in delight over and over again, drag in unsuspecting companions and relish the moment of being duped. Even after this moment of realisation, the images of the ghostly others occasionally behaving in inappropriate ways remains compelling. The small audience shivers at each new arrival like ouija board conspirators.”

Thanks to support from ANAT and Experimenta Media Arts I was able to attend the exhibition and present the work at FACT. Due to the complex installation requirements the work would not have been presented at all in the touring exhibition so I am very grateful for this. The installation took approximately a week, which provided enough time to tune the software of the work for the particular presentation space and test the stability of the system. The work subsequently ran smoothly for the following weeks, which is a rare comfort in an often unstable and nerve wracking field.

The exhibition opened on the 17th June and the work was very well received. As this was only the second public presentation of the work, I found the feedback provided by the audience particularly useful and this has informed future revisions of the work. Presentation of the work in the United Kingdom has also extended links to curators and arts workers whom would not have had the opportunity to experience the work outside of Europe.

On the 14th of June I took part in a discussion panel with Experimenta Director, Caroline Farmer and fellow artist Van Sowerwine. The public forum was well attended and the audience and panel discussed topics ranging from the works presented, the broader field of Media Arts in Australia and partnerships between artists and the corporate sector.

In total, I spent approximately two weeks in Liverpool for installation of the work and presentations. Overall, I found that both FACT and Experimenta Media Arts showed a high degree of professionalism and the exhibition of work was truly both a pleasure and a success. The technical/installation team from FACT were exceptional, as was Experimenta’s installation supervisor Matthew Gingold.

Subsequent to endeavors at FACT, I undertook a research residency at Sendai Mediatheque in Japan. During this two week period I began researching and developing new site specific work for an exhibitlon that took place in November 2006 entitled Re:search / Art collaboration of Australia and Japan.  The exhibition presented works from three Australian and three Japanese Artists.

The work entitled Conversations was based around momentary intimate interaction with random strangers throughout the city. I also had the opportunity to refine a prior work Swarm (2005) that was also exhibited in the same exhibition. Further information regarding these projects is available here:

During my stay at Sendai I was fortunate to meet some Japanese artists whom I am still in close contact with, including the photographer Lieko Shiga (, and the group of Artists called the Sine Wave Orchestra ( These artists not only provided valuable local insight to the region during my residency but work was also quite inspirational, I presented an artist talk at the Miyagi University of Education in Sendai with Lieko Shiga on the 22nd of June. This was quite a curious experience as it is the first time that I have given a talk with a translator and I am still not quite sure what was actually said on my behalf. Nevertheless, the audience seemed interested and responsive.

The Mediatheque in Sendai is one of the most extraordinary buildings I have ever visited. Designed by Toyota Ito, the building serves as the public library and a multi level exhibition space. Below are images of one of the exhibition spaces that was subsequently used for the exhibition.

Both the exhibition at FACT and research undertaken at Sendai Mediatheque provided opportunities to extend my artistic practice in quite varied environments. It was my first visit to both these locations which has given me a considerably brooder outlook on the state of media arts outside of Australia and also the opportunity to forge relationships with practitioners from the United Kingdom and Japan.

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