Chris Henschke, Song of the Phenomena. Photo Credit: Dark Mofo/Jesse Hunniford, 2019, Image Courtesy Dark Mofo, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Chris Henschke named ANAT Synapse Fellow

We are proud and delighted to announce, Chris Henschke has been named the recipient of the ANAT Synapse Fellowship for 2024! 

This prestigious fellowship, commemorating 20 years of the ANAT Synapse residency program, offers a one-off fund to support a Synapse Alumnus in propelling the trajectory of their interdisciplinary artistic practice.

Chris has been awarded $20,000 to undertake the creative research project Future Accelerations & Quantum Expressions, returning to CERN to embark on an exciting two-month collaborative residency through the ART@CMS program. Working alongside his longtime collaborator Mark Boland (University of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Light Source), and CERN physicist Michael Hoch, Chris will develop several interrelated media and sculptural projects. This research will culminate in an exhibition as part of CERN’s 70th birthday.

“I’m thrilled that Dr Henschke has been named ANAT Synapse Fellow 2024. His work is emblematic of what ANAT is trying to achieve in bringing artists together with science and technology research partners. This Fellowship demonstrates our commitment to promoting deeper conversations and stronger collaborations across sectors, as well as our capacity to provide ongoing support to artists across the span of their careers.”

– Michael Nelson, ANAT Chair

During his ANAT Synapse Fellowship, Chris will delve into future accelerator technologies and expand upon his exploration of matter-energy harmonics, a pivotal aspect of particle physics. Drawing from his experiences in both his 2010 ANAT Synapse and 2018 ANAT Synapse CSIRO residencies, Chris intends to broaden his artistic practice by venturing into new realms of experimentation and performative expression. 

Chris Henschke’s 2010 ANAT Synapse project Lightbridge, in collaboration with physicist Mark Boland, aimed to create an audio-visual interface to explore the nature of the Australian 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.

In his 2018 residency, Chris worked with CSIRO scientists Xavier Mulet and Michael Batten to test the potential for programmable Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) to produce audiovisual effects. He experimented with the nature of chemical synthesis, and how this could be manifested using the MOF chemicals directly. His experiments were then showcased in the Synthesism exhibition.

“Celebrating the 20th year of ANAT Synapse, we congratulate artist Chris Henschke by awarding him the ANAT Synapse Fellowship 2024. Through the support of the fellowship, Chris will be working once again with his collaborators Mark Boland and Michael Hoch at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), in what is also a landmark year for the research facility in its 70th year. This leads beautifully into the International Year of Quantum Science and Technology – 100 years since the initial development of quantum mechanics – an area of practice, research and expertise for the work of Chris and his partners.

It’s important to acknowledge each of the fellowship applicants and ANAT Synapse alumni through this process. As one of the esteemed selection panel members noted, ‘We are looking for the best of the best,’ and each applicant certainly was this. This 20th anniversary celebrates the work of Chris Henschke and also the work of every ANAT alumni through its rich history.”

– Melissa DeLaney, ANAT CEO

Now in 2024, in his ANAT Synapse Fellowship, Chris will develop a series of interdisciplinary art/physics projects at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, working with his original 2010 Synapse collaborator Mark Boland, and CMS physicist Michael Hoch.

Prof. Boland completed a PhD in nuclear physics at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and a postdoc at Lund University, Sweden. He then became an accelerator physicists and between 2003-2017 helped build and operate the Australian Synchrotron. In 2017, Prof. Boland was appointed as the Machine Director at the Canadian Light Source and a Professor at the University of Saskatchewan. Awards and honours include a Fulbright Fellowship at Stanford and a JSPS Fellowship in Japan.

Michael Hoch, born in Vienna, Austria, studied applied physics at the University of Technology Vienna and pursued a teaching degree in physics and sports at the University of Vienna. He conducted doctoral research in particle physics at CERN, where he contributed significantly to the ALICE TPC field cage for the CERN-LHC project and later to the CMS experiment. In 2012, he founded the art@CMS program, followed by the ORIGIN network in 2017, both fostering dialogue between science and art globally.

Left: Mark Boland, image courtesy Canadian Light Source. Right: Michael Hoch, image courtesy Compact Muon Solenoid.

CERN is currently developing the “Future Circular Collider,” a 90-kilometre particle accelerator beneath Geneva. This will take 50 years to construct, connecting to and extending the Large Hadron Collider, which is itself attached to still-active apparatuses from the 1970s. A century-long experiment is a technological time machine, a kind of living energetic material genealogy, ripe for creative interrogation and in-situ installations.

These questions will guide Chris’ exploration:

  • How does one future-proof a Future Collider?
  • How do we create art that can anticipate and manifest unpredictable futures?
  • What might we discover or create when we peer into the quantum realms of the future?

In tackling these questions, Chris seeks to connect the macroscopic and quantum realms in exploratory and expressive ways, through a post-human methodology developed during his 2018 ANAT Synapse CSIRO residency, when he collaborated with the materials as well as the scientists. This stance towards matter contrasts with standard models of scientific practice – instead of extracting reductive measurable properties from the subatomic realm, it is intuitive and performative, using the technologies and tools of science to engage with the agencies of nature in ways that allow subatomic entities to express themselves.

We applaud the synergy between the celebration of CERN’s 70 years of groundbreaking exploration and ANAT Synapse’s 20 years of nurturing the interdisciplinary experimental collaboration between artists and scientists. 

The ANAT Synapse Fellowship is supported by the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) and the ART@CMS program at CERN.

Chris Henschke at the CERN CMS (2014). Photograph by Michael Hoch.

Chris Henschke is an artist who works with analogue and digital media, using methods and materials from experimental science, and has undertaken experimental interdisciplinary collaborations with scientists since 1991. Residencies include the National Gallery of Australia, 2004; an Asialink residency at Chulalongkorn University Bangkok, 2007; two residencies at the Australian Synchrotron, 2007 and 2010; and an ANAT Synapse residency with the CSIRO in Clayton, 2018-2019. 

Chris’ academic qualifications include a Doctorate of Philosophy from Monash University (2013-2017), comprised of on-site research/practice at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), Switzerland, as part of the ‘art@CMS’ collaboration program. Somewhat recent exhibitions include: ‘How Everything Began’ a group show at the Natural History Museum, Vienna, 2016, opened by Nobel Physics laureates Peter Higgs & Anton Zeilinger; ‘Song of the Phenomena’ and ‘Demon Core’, commissioned for DARK MOFO 2019, Hobart; and ‘Synthesism’, an in-situ installation/presentation of his CSIRO nanomaterial experiments, 2019.

The ANAT Alumni is a network of hundreds of artists, scientists and technologists. A lifelong community of remarkable, diverse and engaged professionals. Comprising Australian artistic and scientific researchers who understand the value of interdisciplinary and experimental approaches to knowledge production, who have participated in the ANAT Synapse residency program over the past 20 years.