Synapse Residency Program

Synapse, an initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts and ANAT, supports collaborations between artists and scientists

 

Latest News

 

ANAT wins AbaF NSW & ACT Arts and Health Foundation Award

The best relationships between business, arts and donors were honoured and celebrated at the Australia Business Arts Foundation’s AbaF Awards 2012 in New South Wales and the ACT on Monday 3 September.

ANAT has received the Arts and Health Foundation Award for facilitating the partnership between artist Dr George Khut and Children’s Hospital at Westmead paediatrician Dr Angie Morrow to research how the adaptation of biofeedback-based artworks can help manage the pain and anxiety experienced by children undergoing medical procedures as part of its Synapse Residency Program.

Read more about the AbaF awards at http://www.abaf.org.au

 

 

ANAT congratulates George Khut – Winner of the National Media Art Award

ANAT is thrilled to congratulate artist George Poonkhin Khut – winner of the National New Media Art Award for his work Distillery: Waveforming 2012.  

George was a recipient of ANAT’s Synapse Residency Program in 2011, and this research contributed to the development of Distillery: Waveforming. You can read about George’s Synapse project at http://khut2011.anat.org.au.

The National New Media Art Award judges also highly commended two other Synapse alumni; Robin Fox for his work CRT: h’ommage to Léon Theremin and Kirsty Boyle  for her work Tree Ceremony.  The National New Media Art Award exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery – Gallery of Modern Art until 4 November 2012.

http://qagoma.qld.gov.au

 

Synapse 6  Nigel Helyer :: Vox on the Rox Concert :: Hobart, Tasmania

Vox on the Rox is the first of a series of experimental sonic works to come out of the Synapse 6 Art + Science collaboration between Dr. Nigel Helyer of SonicObjects; SonicArchitecture and Dr. Mary Anne Lea of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania.

Vox on the Rox will make a debut this Friday evening at the Conservatorium Recital Hall with the first in a series of concerts which explore the marine environments and creatures of the Southern Ocean. Extensive and extremely complex datasets collected from southern elephant seals diving under Antarctic Ice or transiting across the Southern Ocean, represent a considerable interpretive challenge and have provided the potential for a hybrid art and science collaboration between Dr Mary Anne Lea and Dr Nigel Helyer to explore new methods of and forms for manifesting the data.

Three short movements, accompanied by data projections of the graphical score and environmental imagery, will be realised through improvised sound created by the Vox on the Rox Concert by the  Conservatorium improvisation collective iCon ~ translating digital information via visualisations into sonifications.

Venue:     UTAS Conservatorium Recital Hall ~ 5 Sandy Bay Rd, Sandy Bay
Date:       Friday 27th April ~19h30-20h00
Cost:       Free with Refreshments.
Contact:  Robert Rule, Conservatorium Concerts and Projects Coordinator for further details (Tel: 6226 7306).

This four-month collaboration is funded under the Australian Network for Art and Technology’s Synapse program matched by generous support from IMAS (UTAS) and the Conservatorium of Music (UTAS).

 

2012 Synapse Art/Science Residencies Announced

The Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) is pleased to announce the successful recipients of the 2012 Synapse Residency program – a core element of the Synapse initiative of the Australia Council of the Arts and ANAT, which has enabled collaboration between artists and scientists since 2004.
The Synapse initiative supports creative partnerships between scientists and artists through the residency program, a database of international art/science collaborations, an archived discussion list and the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage program, which supports longer-term partnerships between artists and scientists in academic research settings.
ANAT, in continuing its commitment to artistic innovation, is thrilled to announce that the following Australian artists have been awarded Synapse residencies for 2012:

Keith Armstrong (QLD) + Australian Wildlife Conservancy (VIC, SA, NSW)
Australia has the highest mammal extinction rate in the world – not something to be proud of. To halt this decline, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) acquires high ecological-value land, establishes sanctuaries and actively manages the land through feral animal control, weed eradication, fire management and the translocation of threatened species. This approach – practical land management informed by strong science – has at its heart an interdisciplinary focus that sits happily with one of Australia’s most established and successful artists, Keith Armstrong. Through a career spanning two decades, as well as his work as Senior Research Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology, Armstrong has focused on art-science and ecology-based collaborations with scientists, musicians, dancers, critical theorists and performers. With the AWC’s South-West Region Chief Scientist, Matt Hayward, he will explore ways of shifting cultural thinking to generate broad-based actions to reverse the decline of Australian habitat health and diversity.
http://armstrong2012.blog.anat.org.au

Peta Clancy (VIC)|Helen Pynor (NSW) + Heart and Lung Transplant Unit, St Vincent’s Hospital (NSW), Victor Chang Cardiac Research Unit (NSW) + St Vincent’s Clinical School (NSW)
The ambiguities arising out of organ transplantation have provided fascinating fodder for artists Clancy and Pynor throughout their careers. In their most recent research and exhibition project exploring transplantation, The Body is a Big Place, they explored the tenuous boundary between life and death and the complex tensions between consciousness, subjectivity, mind and body. The current project enables the artists to extend this research through a focus on the emerging transplant protocol, ‘Donation after Cardiac Death – DCD’. The differences between DCD and the more conventional ‘Brain Stem Death’ protocol raises fresh questions that clinicians, with their demanding day-to-day surgical practices, have little time to address. The artists will explore an array of complex issues arising in clinical settings as a result of developments in transplantation technologies – beginning with the fundamental tension between the maintenance of donor dignity and the optimisation of organ condition.
http://clancypynor2012.anat.org.au

Nola Farman (NSW) + Centre for Organic Electronics, University of Newcastle (NSW)
Imagine a planet able to harness the abundant light energy received every second of every day, a city where every building, every vehicle and every surface has an electricity-generating coating that makes low cost energy available to all. This is the vision being pursued by Paul Dastoor and his research team at the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Organic Electronics.  Nola Farmer is an award-winning artist who has pursued a diverse sculptural and installation practice since the early 1980s. Her most recent installation works are realised, paradoxically, through the impacts of erosion, weathering, vegetation, insect infestation, human interference and other effects more usually construed as destructive. Together, the artist and researchers have proposed a project that takes a fresh approach to the integration of solar cells into highly-constrained environments, providing a mechanism for rethinking how solar energy is integrated into the very fabric of our society.
http://farman2012.anat.org.au

 

Interactive Art & Design in Health & Rehabilitation :: A showcase of current research at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead
The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Kids Rehab Dept. and the Australian Network for Art and Technology invite you to a showcase of current research at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead using
interactive art and design in health care and rehabilitation settings, exploring the potential of interactive media to engage and inspire children and young people on Thursday 15th December 2011, 5pm-7pm at The Children’s Hospital at WestmeadSpecial guests Vicki Sowry from ANAT and Helen Zigmond from the Arts & Health Foundation, Australia and and will include a presentation by Dr George Khut (Synapse Resident Artist) and Dr Angie Morrow (Kids Rehab) about The BrightHearts Project: Using biofeedback relaxation training and interactive art to reduce stress and anxiety experienced by children undergoing painful, recurrent clinical procedures.
http://www.anat.org.au/interactive_art

 

Synapse 7 :: Call for Applications Now Open
The Australian Network for Art & Technology (ANAT) is calling for applications from artists and science and research organisations for the 2012 Synapse Residency program.Now in its seventh round, the program is a core element of the Synapse initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts and ANAT, which supports collaboration between artists and scientists.  The residencies are open to Australian artists with a demonstrated interest in science working in any discipline and/or medium. Australian-based residencies of 16 weeks’ duration that take place during the 2012 calendar year will be supported.  To ensure a good fit between the artist and host organisation, a joint application must be submitted. It is the responsibility of the project partners to establish contact and to identify the nature of the proposed collaboration prior to application. Those with existing relationships are strongly encouraged to apply. The Synapse residencies have a creative research focus and it is not expected that they will result in the production of new work. The residencies may also be approached as a platform for testing and informing a more comprehensive, longer-term research project suitable for submission to the ARC Synapse Linkage program.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS 5PM, FRIDAY 24th of FEBRUARY 2012

Guidelines, including an application form, can be downloaded here

 

Synapse 6

Dr Nigel Helyer + University of Tasmania
Sound artist and sculptor Dr Nigel Helyer is partnering with marine scientist, Dr Mary-Anne Lea, from the newly-founded Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania. Their collaboration seeks to extend the visualisation and interpretation of marine and Antarctic geo-spatial datastreams through integration with sound and multi-dimensional data representations.  Helyer’s work on acoustic cartographies has been developed over many years, with past projects realised at SymbioticA (Australia), the Paul Scherrer Institut (Switzerland) and the Tropical Marine Research Labs (Singapore), amongst others. The Synapse residency will allow Helyer and Lea to test the potential for conceptual and intuitive approaches to otherwise abstract and complex marine datasets.
http://helyer2011.anat.org.au

 

Dr George Pookhin Khut + The Children’s Hospital at Westmead
Artist, Dr George Khut, has established a unique practice over the past decade making body-focused interactive artworks that invite people to explore and reflect on their experience of themselves and the world around them.  In his Synapse residency, Khut will work alongside Dr Angie Morrow, a paediatrician with Kids Rehab at The Childrens Hospital Westmead. Together they will pursue research into the development of an interactive, multimedia device for children to aid in the relief of pain and anxiety associated with undergoing recurrent painful rehabilitative and surgical procedures. At the completion of the residency the research will be used to inform the production of a device for clinical trialling in 2012 with the financial backing of the Kirby Foundation.
http://khut2011.anat.org.au

 

Dr Mary Rosengren + CSIRO
The CSIRO is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research organisations in the world. As part of its research, the CSIRO manages a number of significant collections, including the National Herbarium, the Australian National Insect Collection and the National Soils Archive, all based in Canberra. Artist, Dr Mary Rosengren, will base herself with each of these collections during her Synapse residency in order to investigate and articulate the connections between different aspects of CSIRO research and to extend professional thinking about interdisciplinarity and the appraisal of images within science and art contexts. The results of the research will inform an exhibition and symposium to be hosted by the CSIRO Discovery Centre as part of its 2012 Public Program.
http://rosengren2011.anat.org.au

 

Catherine Truman + Department of Anatomy & Histology, Flinders University
Understanding the human body and its representation is a requirement across diverse disciplines including science, philosophy and the creative arts. For medical students, however, the capacity to learn and remember detailed human anatomy is crucial to their studies and their future professional lives.  In this Synapse residency, artist and former Australia Council of the Arts Fellow, Catherine Truman, will work alongside Professor Ian Gibbins, Head of Anatomy and Histology at Flinders University, to build upon their earlier collaborative research activity investigating pedagogical tools, processes and environments that have the potential to optimise the uptake and retention of anatomical learning.
http://truman2011.anat.org.au

 

Synapse 5

Robin Fox + Bionic Ear Institute (Melbourne, Australia)
Whilst cochlear implants have been remarkably successful in restoring speech perception, they present an issue in music appreciation for implant users. Robin Fox, one of Australia’s leading audio-visual, sound and computer music artists, worked with researchers from the Bionic Ear Institute’s Music and Pitch Project Team to create musical compositions tailored specifically for implant users. The collaboration allowed Fox to further his research into audio-visual equivalence by conducting a series of experiments investigating whether visual stimuli accompanying sound can increase the musical experience for the hearing impaired.
http://fox2010.anat.org.au

 

Chris Henschke + Australian Synchrotron (Melbourne, Australia)
In 2007, artist Chris Henschke completed a residency at the Australian Synchrotron, supported by Arts Victoria’s Innovation Residency program and ANAT. Following this, he continued to build his understanding of the facility and strengthened his relationships with the resident scientists, a process that has informed this project. ‘Lightbridge’ aimed to create an audio-visual interface to explore the nature of the synchrotron’s ‘tune’ – what scientists call the complex frequency harmonics generated from the synchrotron’s beam status and position data – and to make this real-time data available to other artists and researchers.
http://henschke2010.anat.org.au

 

Erica Seccombe + Department of Applied Mathematics, Australian National University (Canberra, Australia)
Visual artist, Erica Seccombe worked with experimental and theoretical scientists from the Department of Applied Mathematics on a collaboration that will assist towards understanding the complex interrelationship of mechanical 3D components of physical objects and balancing visual density with information content. A complementary and concurrent focus on the visualisation and animation of complex datasets also contributed to Seccombe’s long-term research project looking at the influence of scientific technology on visual media and contemporary art, as well as producing a wealth of material for use in future artworks.
http://seccombe2010.anat.org.au

 

Meredith Walsh + Pier Luigi Luisi Synthetic Biology Laboratory (Rome, Italy)
The primary research undertaken at the Pier Luigi Luisi Lab investigates the self-organisation and self-reproduction of chemical and biological systems within ‘origins of life’ and cell model frameworks; in particular, the Lab uses random DNA sequencing to modify protein structure and synthesise new proteins. UK-based artist Meredith Walsh wanted to take this a full step further: rather than relying on random selection, she experimented with modifying proteins using aesthetic criteria to question the ways in which the design and modification of proteins can alter their architecture and expression and to address the ethical implications of designing new biological systems.
http://walsh2010.anat.org.au

Ken & Julia Yonetani + Sunrise 21 + The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre (Mildura, Australia)
Visual artists, Ken and Julia Yonetani used their residency to further their practice of collaborating with scientists to produce outstanding works engaging with the fragility of the environment. Their recent collaboration with the Australian Institute of Marine Science resulted in the work Sweet Barrier Reef, which represented Australia at the 2009 Venice Biennale. The Water Memory project focused on water as life-force and carrier of the ‘memory’ of all living entities -past, present and future. Sunrise 21′s expertise in advanced digital mapping and the Freshwater Research Centre’s work on water quality and ecology enabled a research engagement ranging from the microscopic to the macroscopic ‘big picture’.
http://yonetani2010.anat.org.au/

 

Synapse 4

Nicky Forster & Willoh Weiland + Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, Swinburne University

Swinburne’s Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing (CAS) continues its strong commitment to inter-disciplinary research, having previously hosted ANAT residencies in 2004 and 2007. In this project, Forster and Weiland resume their successful partnership investigating issues in contemporary astronomy by drawing upon the research obsessions and cosmological programs resulting from the Centre’s involvement in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a new-generation radio telescope. For the duration of the residency (which, aptly, continues into 2009 – the International Year of Astronomy), the duo will podcast a soap opera in fortnightly instalments organised around the key project areas of the SKA, invigorating existing models of scientific outreach in the process.
http://weilandforster.anat.org.au

 

Dr Peter Morse + Australian Antarctic Division, Tasmania + Western Australian Supercomputer Project, University of Western Australia
Morse draws on his substantial experience in digital media production to create work engaging with the Antarctic region. His more recent works have utilised 3D, stereoscopic and 360° immersive technologies, leading to a continuing interest in the visualisation of complex datasets. Working with data provided by the AAD and using the computer resources and expertise at WASP, Morse and his collaborators will create volumetric visualisations for the full-dome (planetarium) format representing both empirical and aesthetic features of the data and eliciting an understanding of complex connections between parameters that would not have been revealed or communicated in any other way.
http://morse.anat.org.au

 

Lynette Wallworth + Confocal Bio-Imaging Facility, University of Western Sydney
Wallworth and Dr Anya Salih of Confocal BioSalih worked together in 2001 and again in 2007 on Hold: Vessels 1 & 2. Their current project draws on Salih’s ground-breaking research into the photoprotective function of GFP (green fluorescent protein) in corals and Wallworth brings this together with a study into a luminescent bacteria (Photorhabdus luminescens) thought to be responsible for the increased efficacy of wound-healing in humans in extreme temperatures. The combination of these disparate research fields is made possible by the CBIF’s capacity to analyse changes in living cells over time, with the resulting datasets forming the basis of an interactive installation utilising Wallworth’s experiments with luminescent glass carried out in 2006.

 

Synapse 3

Kirsty Boyle + The Artificial Intelligence Lab (Switzerland)
Kirsty drew upon her extensive knowledge of Karakuri Ningyo (Japanese mechanical doll making) to develop girltron, a girl robot with a mechanical performance-based AI system. Girltron highlights the importance of fusing science with broader cultural and social concerns and recognises the role tradition plays in contemporary technology. Kirsty’s chief collaborator for the project will be AI specialist, Dr Lijin Aryananda.
http://boyle.anat.org.au

 

Madeleine Flynn & Tim Humphrey + The Garvan Institute of Medical Research (Australia)
Madeleine and Tim worked with Dr Shane Grey, head of the Gene Therapy and Autoimmunity Group, to investigate ways of sonifying information from new genetic analysis techniques that reveal the dynamics of cellular processes. The collaboration has the potential to advance the understanding of complex cellular patterns and networks, as well as providing unique opportunities for the artistic rendition of processes at the heart of human existence.
http://flynnhumphrey.anat.org.au

 

Tina Gonsalves + Affective Computing Group, MIT(USA), Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging (UK) and the Brighton & Sussex Medical School (UK)
Tina’s project, Chameleon, drew upon earlier work developed in partnership with Emeritus Professor Chris Frith, Wellcome Principal Research Fellow. Chameleon synthesizes neuroscientific and affective computing research to explore and provoke emotional processes by producing emotionally responsive audiovisual narratives. The work highlights awareness of our inner selves, as well as our innate tendency to synchronise and connect with others.
http://gonsalves.anat.org.au

 

Synapse 2

Gregory Pryor + The Division of Sustainable Ecosystems, CSIRO (WA)
Grain of Night was a collaboration between artist Gregory Pryor and CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems in Western Australia, generously supported by International Art Space Kellerberrin Australia (IASKA). The residency focused on work done in the Wallatin Catchment area around Kellerberrin in Western Australia’s wheat belt. Kellerberrin is just over 200 kilometres east of Perth. CSIRO focuses on the on-going sustainable management of Australia’s landscapes, environments and communities.
http://grainofnight.anat.org.au

Rachel Peachey & Paul Mosig (The Contextual Villians) + The Department of Archeology and Natural History, Australian National University (ACT)
Paul Mosig and Rachel Peachey (AKA The Contextual Villains) spent 3 months working with the Department of Archaeology & Natural History at the Australian National University. Paul & Rachel proposed to use creative methods to mimic the scientific process used by Palaeoecologists. They worked in the field to collect samples, worked with microscopes to investigate the samples and background research. The Australian National Universities major research focus is human-environment interaction through time.
http://www.racket.net.au/project/synapse

 

Synapse 1

Julie Ryder + Australian National Botanic Gardens and the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research (CPBR)
Julie Ryder’s residency culminated in an exhibition Art and the Bryophyte at the Australian National Botanic Gardens Visitors Information Centre. The exhibition was an exploration of the research of scientist Dr Christine Cargill who Julie worked with at the CPBR. Part of Dr Cargill’s research was in the area of bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts), or ‘moss plants’, and ancient group of plants that play an important ecological role in diverse terrestrial ecosystems. Access to this fascinating field of research and equipment at CPBR enabled Julie to produce detailed large-scale textiles and digital prints of microscopic images of bryophytes, revealing their fascinating and complex structure. The exhibition also explored the history of botany with three-dimensional artworks, investigating ‘the history of collecting and collectors, and questioned the idea of order, perfection and classification’.  During her residency, Julie also developed the blog ‘artandthebryophyte’. With over 5,000 hits hundreds of comments, the blog served as a fantastic site for interaction and discussion on the art/science collaboration between Julie and Dr Cargill.
http://www.anbg.gov.au/cpbr

 

Peter Charuk + South East Sustainable Marine Ecosystems, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Tasmania
Peter Charuk’s residency at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research focussed on capturing video data from of the ocean landscape of the Continental Shelf around Tasmania and Western Australia, and images from the CSIRO laboratories. Working closely with scientists and utilising the specialised equipment available through the Biodiversity and Conservation Group there, Peter developed a series of works that were both documentary-like, and layered with poetic, historic and technical references.  These works included video installations shown at CSIRO in Hobart. Highly aesthetic yet technically accurate, the video showed the underwater sea life and geography, and worked to question the significance of data – as a practical research tool or more a sensorial engagement with subtle historic/artistic references. Peter also developed serries of photographic stills that were shown at the Blacktown Arts Centre and the foyer of CSIRO in Hobart, and an artists’ book shown at the Noosa Regional Gallery in Queensland.


David O’Donovan + Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, University of Swinburne, Melbourne
David O’Donovan completed his residency at the end of 2004, which was then extended by the University through an internal grant. The Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing operates a significant supercomputing facility and a virtual reality theatre and concentrates on problems in astrophysics that benefit from these unique resources.  David O’Donovan is a Melbourne based sound artist who is collaborating with the Centre to create mediation on the myths and stories that human cultures have attributed to heavenly bodies, and to consider these myths in the context of our present day experience. The completed artwork will be suitable for display using the virtual reality projection systems developed by the Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, including theatres at Parkes Observatory (NSW), Sydney Observatory (NSW) and Jodrell Bank Observatory (UK).
http://astronomy.swin.edu.au

 

Annemarie Kohn (SA) + e-World Lab, School of Computer and Information Science, University of South Australia, South Australia
Annemarie Kohn’s residency at e-World Lab, the School of Computer and Information Science, whose ‘key focus is on future work environments where teams can interact symbiotically with advanced technologies, various forms of information, and each other’.  Interactive large screen displays, augmented and virtual reality approaches, and ubiquitous computing devices, was the interesting and challenging environment to work in. Annemarie assisted scientists there to develop a number of software tools which facilitate the control of meta-application multi-media presentations. While the experience of working in the lab was interesting, the video-based work created for the lab environment, could not be exhibited there, due to renovations in the lab.
http://e-world.unisa.edu.au

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