ISEA2013 Presentation Overview

ISEA2013:  [Overview] [Venues] [Presentations] [Workshops] [Art Events] [Gallery]

  • Keynotes:

    Paper Presentations:


    • Creativity and Participatory Urbanism in China

    • This session focuses on the emergent creative economy in China and the potential for big data to leverage and curate social intelligence through participatory data visualisation. “Chuangyi jingji” (the creative economy) is now seen in China as a key economic force driving the shift from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’. Supported by research and policy reform, China’s creative and cultural industries have seen explosive growth in recent years, and this rapid expansion is anticipated in government circles to have an unprecedented and far-reaching influence on the future of the country. Researchers from The Institute of Cultural Industries based at The Communication University of China (CUC) present new data, phenomenon analysis and case studies on the proliferation of art parks and creative clusters in China, and discuss the emergence of new digital media, including micro-film and video websites, and microblogs such as Weibo. We live in an era of unprecedented urbanisation of which China is an extreme example. Saturated in digital air, cities cluster around resources representing various interests and agendas creating inevitably complex systems. Big data, the mobi... [READ MORE]
    • Imaging Capabilities of the Future

    • “The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psycho-analysis to unconscious impulses” (Walter Benjamin); what might new forms of capture and display reveal about our unconscious state? Moore’s Law applied to image capture is as profound a change as the invention of slow-motion in Benjamin’s day. Increased capture quality and speed, handling and display of data, and the dissipation of bottlenecks in data flow, open new possibilities for how and why images are captured and displayed. In the UK, work is being undertaken on the world’s first higher dynamic range, higher resolution, higher frame rate systems to examine the psychological immersive point at which human perception is ‘activated’. There is an underlying conviction in this research that something will be revealed about how these accelerations perturbate or excite the human perceptual system. Traditional forms of exhibition are already accommodating these developments with 4k projector systems, delivery of higher resolution television via terrestrial digital and higher resolution narrowcasting via the internet. Business as usual; but what might this all mean for images outside commercial circuits? Art... [READ MORE]
    • Learning from the CRUMB Method

      Mirroring Sherry Turkle: a discussion on authenticity, humanity and technology

      Ecology, Cybernetics and Open Systems in Art and Technology

    • This panel examines specific moments in which theories of complex systems, cybernetics, and chaos have contributed to the conceptualisation and production of works of media art. From the 1960s onwards, many artists found a resource, in scientific ideas of instability, mutual causation, transformation, and openness, for the questioning of established aesthetic values and cultural institutions. Complex systems, as a subject of conceptual thought and scientific investigation, intensified following work by Weiner, Prigogine, Lorenz, Bertalanffy, Bateson, Varela and Maturana and so forth in the mid-twentieth century. These recalibrations of scientific thought ignited artists’ interests in science, shifting attention away, as they did, from ontology (things as they are) to ontogenesis (how things emerge) – from deterministic and mechanistic forms of thinking, to a sense of the world as indeterminate, dynamic, non-linear, and filled with behavioural complexities. By drawing together art historical studies in open systems and cybernetics with contemporary thought about ecologies, the various papers will suggest that history remains a viable lens for understanding the development of par... [READ MORE]
    • Media Art, Mediation and Contemporary Art

    • Despite Claire Bishop’s claims of a continuing ‘disavowal’ of digital media within contemporary art (2012), it is apparent that the various lines of cultural resistance are becoming more permeable and uncertain. It is not simply that all kinds of shared lineages have been traced (in the history of the avant-garde and in traditions of conceptualism particularly), or that all manner of forms of digital media have become pervasive in contemporary art, but more significantly that artists themselves, in their practices, have begun to move fluidly between paradigms. Since at least the 1990s, contemporary art has explicitly thematised issues of communication and social interaction, while media artists have shifted away from a relentless focus on dimensions of technology per se. The question of mediation has been posed in a much broader context – a context that intersects with the contemporary interest in socially engaged art. In this manner, media art is becoming a less strictly determinable genre; its lingering sense of difference and cultural isolation is beginning to appear quaint and untenable. This panel is concerned with the creative implications of this shift beyond the ... [READ MORE]
    • Tracking the Boom: Think Tanks, Mouse Hacks and more in the United Arab Emirates

      Assimilate This… Science Fiction and Media Art

      The History of Things to Come

    • Catching Light alluded to a number of components within the development of new works in the realm of new media, pairing artists from different generations within the new media movement who have chosen analogue and digital technologies as the most appropriate channel of enquiry for their current work, or have a practice reliant on engagement. Catching Light aims to draw on conversation, participation and interaction as means of informing us, the audience, as to how we communicate, or respond to art. Interesting questions can be raised as to how artists engage with new media now, and how new media was perceived at a time when these technologies were groundbreaking, analysing the technical and theoretical discoveries and foundation knowledge surrounding video synthesis and robotics. The panel discussion between collaborating artists Troy Innocent & Ben Kolaitis, and Stephen Jones & Pia van Gelder, will respond to these ideas with reference to their new works, their collaborative practice and their roles within the new media community. [READ MORE]
    • Future Nature, Future Culture [s]: Reflections on Balance-Unbalance

    • Balance-Unbalance is an international conference that uses art as a catalyst to explore intersections between nature, science, technology and society as we move into an era of both unprecedented ecological threats and transdisciplinary possibilities. The previous events, held in Argentina in 2010 and Montreal in 2011, provided a powerful platform for reflection, debate and ideas leading towards Balance-Unbalance 2013, hosted in the UNESCO Noosa Biosphere Reserve on the Sunshine Coast of Australia. The 2013 conference theme, Future Nature, Future Culture[s], aims to provoke discourse around what our elusive future might hold, and how transdisciplinary thought and action could be used as tools for positive change. Balance-Unbalance asked us to consider what we want for ourselves, our families, our friends, and for the future of humankind. This complex universe, vastly unknown, has been revealing that all is interconnected. Timothy Morton states that everything is connected into a vast, intertangling ‘mesh’ that flows through all dimensions of life. No person, no animal, no object or idea can exist independently. Our limited knowledge of life can be expanded, but to do so we need ... [READ MORE]
    • Rogue Troopers: Designing functional and fictional disruptions

    • Rogue Troopers: Designing functional and fictional disruptions addresses the question: What role can artists, curators, writers and designers play in crafting subversive uses for existing technologies and imagining alternatives? In bringing together practitioners who are working across the field of critical and contemporary media art, resistance will be discussed in relation to practices of hacking, civic change, mapping, activism and technological appropriation. [READ MORE]
    • Mediations of Sensation: Sensory Anthropology and the Futures of New Media Practice

    • “Mediations of Sensation” was a three year, Quebec funded research-creation project whose aim was to explore the possibility of cross-talk between the creation of media environments and sensory anthropology. Sensory anthropology is dedicated to charting the varieties of sensory experience through analysis of the distinctive ways in which the senses are socialized and their deliverances imbued with significance in different cultures. As cultural historian Constance Classen observes: “When we examine the meanings associated with various sensory faculties and sensations in different cultures we find a cornucopia of potent sensory symbolism” (Classen 1997). Within the first year, students in design, computation arts and humanities undertook a survey of literature in the anthropology of the senses. Out of this survey emerged a focus on the Tzotzil of Mexico and the Desana Indians of Colombia, which informed two large-scale artworks Atmosphere and Displace, both of which played with designing and composing environments with elements of taste, smell, vibration, vision and sound. These works were presented both in Canada and internationally, the first presented within the context o... [READ MORE]
    • Diagrams, Formulae and Models: Aesthetic and Scientific Strategies of Visualisation

      Sensation, Meaning and Affect in the work of art / science / technology collaborations

    • This panel includes four artists, working on a diverse range of interdisciplinary collaborative projects, who address sensation, meaning and affect in their work. Each participant will present their practice with an emphasis on their observations about creating work in an interdisciplinary context, the results of this methodology and a description with examples of how their work offers sensate and imaginative outcomes. The subsequent discussion and audience participation will focus on the divergences and convergences between art, science and technology in a changing world, and how the salience of contemporary societal issues are addressed in creative interdisciplinary practice. The panel will use the following paper as a basis for its discussion points: “What is Affect? Considering the Affective Dimension of Contemporary Installation Art” in AAANZ Journal of Art, vol. 2, no. 2, 2001 and vol.3, no.1, 2001, pp.207-225. Audience members are encouraged to read the article prior to the session: [READ MORE]
    • Transdisciplinary Transreal: Mixed and Augmented Reality Arts (MARart) Research Scoping Forum

    • This panel seeks to develop new dialogues in regard to high end research methodologies, cultural inquiry and representation in the increasingly immersive and pervasive field of MARart. The panel will scope the field of MARart, through the presentation and analysis of particular research outcomes, in order to develop criteria that can assess MARart’s production and position within the media arts. The panel will discuss strategies for hybridised research practice in an open platform that will scope current trends and exemplary models from a variety of approaches. Artistic practices in MARart will be discussed in order to locate new research paradigms that address issues including cultural absorption, post-biological identity, social codes and systems, mobile computing, commercialisation and intellectual property, with particular regard to the media art field. The recent rise of augmented reality as a technology for information data transfer has brought about many misunderstandings of the medium in regard to furthering cultural dialogues and understandings. Much of the potential for MARart to facilitate further understanding of both identity and consciousness through art has been un... [READ MORE]
    • Mixed Reality Transformations: shifting relationships between movement, embodiment, somatics and image

      Exquisite, Apart: Remoteness and/as Resistance


    • This panel will consider ‘noise as the glue between internal and external experience, a link between sensing and cognition, memory and perception’. Noise may be considered as a residue of memory, temporarily rupturing the present. For many, noise is the result of overstimulation manifested as ringing in a space that is some place and no place. Noise is the kick that enables physical systems to explore potential dynamical possibilities. Noise is the underlying endogenous stimulation of the brain, a platform for cognition but also a place of danger where cultural and political manipulation may happen. This panel will bring together artists and neuroscientists to interrogate the roles of noise, including multi-/bi-stability and stochastic resonance in biological dynamical systems. Recent research into these areas show that our perception of the world already converges multiple forms of what might be considered as reality, converging and diverging at every synaptic moment. NeuroArts brings together artists, scientists and philosophers to share ideas and present and their work. The conference is an interdisciplinary exploration and interrogation of the field, an exchange of ideas be... [READ MORE]
    • Curating and Collecting the New: Resistance is Futile

    • Based on the research of the co-chairs, the intention of the panel is to precipitate critical reflection on wider issues affecting contemporary art curatorship in response to ISEA2013’s theme, ‘Resistance is Futile’. In 2012 Claire Bishop was resoundingly criticised by the media arts field for her article, published in ArtForum, on the question of why the contemporary art scene has ignored society’s larger digital transformation. Critics lamented that Bishop had deliberately disregarded, as part of her argument, the ever-expanding field of arts practice that engages the digital, as something separate. As new media art and digital arts are already in museum collections from Taichung to Preston, this resistance to acknowledging its place within the art world, and its further collection and historicisation, seems futile. In contradiction to Bishop’s position, it is now possible to examine the subtleties of how collected new media and digital art works are exhibited, interpreted and contextualised as part of the wider field of contemporary arts. Festivals, which famously allow for the latest or newest work-in-progress, play a strong role in museums acquiring artworks, man... [READ MORE]
    • The Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts Revived?

      Art(ist)s in Space

    • Current private space activities are influencing the global priorities and attitudes of the public sector. This shift in opportunity, focus and possibility is explored in depth to ask how can we as an international community of artists, thinkers and designers embark on a truly trans-disciplinary response to this new frontier of exploration and mutual discovery? International curators and artists will present a range of exemplary space-related arts initiatives including: showcase projects by the European Space Agency (ESA) topical team Arts & Science members and visions for the ESA Arts initiative; the NASA Art Project; 15 new artworks commissioned for the Moon on-board a Lunar Lander mission 2014 by The Moon Art Project, as initiated by the Carnegie-Mellon University, Studio for Creative Inquiry; a message from the artist-commander leading the current NASA HI-SEAS Mars Simulation; presentations of contemporary Australian space arts activities; and review the historical context from which this work builds. It is our intention to demonstrate that prior activities, artefacts and aesthetics resulting from space-related artist access and interactions with space assets are significan... [READ MORE]
    • Visualising Gesture and Effect

    • The normative use of motion capture technology is to map the body in movement so as to make animated characters more life-like. This filmic application of this process is conceptually instrumental because the data is co-opted for a largely illustrative uses where the focus is on simply re-presenting movement in animated characters so as to make them more believable substitutes for actual actors. With this approach the technology is conceptually limited to mimetic applications. . The technology and data is, in a sense, pre-figured so as to conform to the disciplinary conventions of filmic animation. In contrast this cross-disciplinary panel will explore a range of alternative conceptual trajectories for the use of the motion capture tool and the data it yields. In particular the panel will discuss a range of applications where the use of motion capture technology directly brings to the forefront issues associated with notion of gesture and its communication. Drawing specifically on design based research currently underway the discussion will encompass the way in which this data brings into focus questions around narrative as a gestural typology and an index of the inter-relation bet... [READ MORE]
    • Im-position: a minor politics for interactive art

    • Interactive art was the hype of the nineties, while today it is mostly criticised as a utilitarian or capitalistic form of engagement. But is there a space of potential resistance, or ‘im-positioning,’ with interactive art? Rather than forcing behaviours, can it activate an experience and practice for multiple yet singular styles of being and becoming? What are the potentials, politics, and ethics involved in designing, interacting with, and understanding works that attempt to do precisely this? This panel brings together a mix of philosophers, practitioners, curators and critics to discuss the creation of ethical im-positions, a minor politics, within the field of interactivity. This is not framed in opposition as such, but, as De Certeau proposes, as a minor tactic that might ‘elude discipline without being outside the field in which it is exercised.’ Tactics differ radically from strategies, which construct dualities and are therefore implicitly linked to power structures. The spaces we wish to work towards must always be contingent, or ‘in-process,’ rather than establishing a set ‘position.’ In this discussion-style panel, Andrew Goodman and Nathaniel Stern (co-... [READ MORE]
    • Re:imag(in)ing Indigenous media art histories

    • Reconsidering Australian Media Art Histories in an International Context (RAMAH) is an ARC Linkage project undertaken by researchers at the National Institute of Experimental Arts, in partnership with a host of national and international partners, that researches the contribution of Australians to the development of media arts as a contemporary art practice, while at the same time examining the important artistic and technical contributions that have shaped media arts in the global arena. The project aims to propose new frameworks, refute inaccurate ‘facts,’ question or expand upon theories, and point out unseen associations and critical connections. The potential for online access to collections of media art in all its manifest forms has been the subject of detailed media art history research. RAMAH aims to provide for a deeper knowledge of the histories of media art history in the international context by making accessible documentation and a range of other materials via an evolving online archive. The process of archiving as a practice itself is crucial, and invites questions: What is the relationship between history and the archive? What is the history and what is the archi... [READ MORE]

    Round Table Discussions:

    • ADA Mesh Cities: Network, Space and Memory in the Transitional City

    • Keywords: Earthquake, Media art, Network, Space, Memory. In the aftermath of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, Christchurch, New Zealand is framed as a ‘transitional’ city, moving from its demolished past to a speculative future. The ADA Mesh Cities project asks what role media art and networks may play in the transitional city, and the practices of remembering, and reimagining space. Intro This paper summarises a panel discussion hosted by Aotearoa Digital Arts at ISEA2013. It addresses the ways in which media artists around Aotearoa New Zealand are responding to the implications of the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. Aotearoa Digital Arts (ADA) is a network of media artists, writers, teachers, and audiences, and a charitable trust focused on supporting media arts in Aotearoa New Zealand. [READ MORE]
    • Semipermeable

    • Semipermeable explores the membrane as a site, metaphor and platform, with SymbioticA (UWA) acting as a quarantine zone to test cultural and biological membranes and borders. From the earliest life forms to newest life to be created, the membrane acts as the definition of self. The membrane is active, selective and fragile. The most fundamental requirement for life is an intelligent barrier that selectively separates the inside from the outside, a way to allow useful resources, materials and information in, while keeping the undesirable out. Scientists working on developing protolife and synthetic life are researching the importance of the membrane in the communication, development and specialisation of cells. This physical, biological membrane has become a powerful metaphor for other systems, including cultural, political, national and economical. Humans have evolved a high dependency on edge detection; the strongest visual (and auditory) cues deal with where one thing ends and another begins. This is also how humans tend to arrange – from perceptions of individual self to societies and nations. In Semipermeable (v.1) physical theatre, media and sound disciplines interact with b... [READ MORE]
    • Large Urban Screens and the Transnational Public Sphere

      SITEWORKS: Ecologies and Technologies

    • Keywords: geomorphology, indigenous, food security, Bundanon, climate change. SITEWORKS is an interdisciplinary research and practice project that invites artists, scientists and scholars to respond to the Bundanon property through the lens of their specific discipline. Over four years this has led to a series of interactive projects, many utilising electronic technologies. The inaugural investigations focussed on the geomorphology of the site and palaeo-environmental research, specifically in the area of sea level rise and climate change. In subsequent years the focus has been on water and the river; land management; Indigenous cultural heritage, and food security. [READ MORE]
    • Lovely Veneer: The underbelly of good design

    • As our modern lives become dominated by technology and assisted by mobile devices, the interfaces between physical and digital are increasingly seamless and fluid. Yet beneath that smooth veneer, issues of privacy and data collection lead to questions about the longevity and permeability of our self-documentation, and concerns about how our digital footprint is stored. Despite this, adoption of digital tools (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, weblogs) are widespread and well received and used. The next generation of storage, cloud computing, has seen widespread adoption with increased storage offered in ‘free’ anonymous servers (e.g. Dropbox, Google drive). From a user perspective, we ask why the unquestioning adoption of these technologies has become the norm, and not only that, almost expected? Is it purely convenience (mobile devices are close to hand) or is it because companies now have so much data to glean our habits and triggers, to design rewards and new models to hook us further. Alternatively, has UI design for mobile finally come of age? Is it better understood that smoother, more efficient digital experiences can be created, whilst downplaying the darker side of th... [READ MORE]
    • The Sustainability of Future Bodies

    • The Sustainability of Future Bodies roundtable brings together artists working with digital technologies in movement and dance, to discuss ways in which electronic art can extend the physical body through choreography and performance. Hosted by Critical Path, a choreographic research centre based in Sydney (, and chaired by interactive media artist Garth Paine, this discussion will ask: How might the body be transformed through an interface with machine? What systems, strategies and practices are being invented/employed? Where might the performer’s agency be located when engaging with interactive technologies? What kinds of future bodies are being performed? Presenting artists will include Myriam Gourfink (FR) and Kasper Toeplitz (FR/PL), whose Breathing Monster features in the performance program of ISEA2013, and Paul Gazzola (AU) and Paul Granjon (FR/UK) talking about their Experimental Body Extension Manufacturing Unit ( This roundtable runs alongside a workshop series facilitated by the artists, presented by Cri... [READ MORE]

    Public Presentations: