SCANZ2013:Digital Anthropophagy

Digital Anthropophagy

Author: Vanessa Ramos-Velasquez


The background of my Digital Anthropophagy theory comes from the “fair use” conundrum of the Information Age. One of my own art practices is to create films from found footage and openly exposed media online. I metabolize these materials into new contexts. In the creative process of this practice, in the age of the Internetworked Information Society as the producer of culture also engaged in remixing, offering a rich self-serving online buffet, I often thought of the Anthropophagic practices of some Brazilian indigenous tribes when they came into contact with their colonizers. The indigenous cannibal honorably eats the foreign in order to incorporate his strength, experiences and qualities and to see through the cannibalized foreigner’s eyes. But I find that in today’s digital culture, we unceremoniously consume the world around us in a globalized structure, thus quickly acquiring worldly references and spitting them out in a personal but also somewhat homogenized way. We have thus become both the cannibal and the cannibalized because of the wide and immediate access to information and the incredible reduction of time it now takes to consume that widely available culture. It no longer takes a passive person watching the ships arriving on the shore in order to consume what they might bring aboard, and conversely, for the colonizer in those ships to take away the riches they “discover” in far-away lands. Over five hundred years later, that exchange has now become cross-pollinated and more equal, and happening in an inhuman speed cycle. And the paradigm of power acquisition has now shifted from land ownership of colonies to ownership of information and creative property, especially engendered by the virtual world. This virtual world has started to disintegrate former imperialisms and push toward a “democratization of access” and “freedom of use” of information. And so I offer an analysis of Information Metabolism which drives human experiences. I hope that this theoretical essay furthers the discussion on “fair use” of media, leading to a simplification of global “fair use” cultural models and practice in the age of digital culture.

Vanessa Ramos-Velasquez

SCANZ2013:He Poi, pattern, collaboration and electronic art installation

He Poi, pattern, collaboration and electronic art installation

Author: Deborah Lawler-Dormer


“The melody is very simple (it has only three notes, all of which are within the range of a single tone) so that most of the musical interest is in the rhythm. Each repetition of the melody has two phrases, each with eight quaver beats. Unlike Western music which would organise this in a regular 4 + 4 throughout, ‘Tangi a taku ihu’ often substitutes an additive grouping (usually 3 + 2 + 3) for the 4 + 4. And the rhythm is still further complicated by syncopations between phrases. These syncopations may also be considered to be additive groupings over a period of 16 quaver beats instead of 8. In other words, the rhythm of the words gets out of step with the rhythm of the poi balls and two bars are needed before they coincide again. Thus the song is really an example of cross rhythm.”

Taking the words of Mervyn McLean describing the He Poi chant (1963) as an inspirational starting point, this paper will explore a collaborative research project that explores pattern generation and pattern recognition within the specific framework of the perception and experience of spatiotemporal phenomena within new media installation art. The methodology and practice of collaboration will therefore be at the heart of the project. The melodic and rhythmic composition of He Poi can also be seen as an analogy for dialogue – a practice of cross rhythm at times in synch and at others out of synch.

Advisors, who will also have the potential to be full collaborators, will be drawn from the neuroscience sector, local iwi from Parihaka, technical communities relating to sound and media installation and conceptual aesthetic theory. This project will be exploring aspects of an investigation that will be occurring in my creative practice PhD currently underway at the University of Auckland. Through this project I am seeking to create a dialogue between scientific and philosophical/spiritual concepts relating to time, memory and space; to explore experiential synthesis within media art installation and other real-time environments; and to create a critical practice informed by recent neuroaesthetic studies. This project is primarily relevant to the strand of 3rd Nature – namely engaging the sciences and hybrid arts.

SCANZ2013:the biotechnologies of the 3rd Nature

Make, Do, Mend and Hack (MDMH) the biotechnologies of the 3rd Nature

Author: Brian Degger


A Paper on The Biotechnologies you already Live with, and the Ones you Should. We propose that next ecology sees it’s citizens embracing biotechnology from the point of view of having ‘the good life’.

There is already a group of pragmatic individuals(call them biohackers, or DIYBio geeks) that are imagining this future, where science and model organisms aren’t confined to the laboratory, but are free to live and enrich our lives. We play, grow and eat science. We use organisms on a small scale to support, to inform, to gain information from our environment. We use the old biotechnologies of fermentation and pickling, but are not afraid to consider mixing it with genetic testing and engineering.

The next ecology we deserve is the hybridization of heavy lifting industries (metal work/genetically manipulated organism production, cancer treatments, trauma medicine) with light self-replicating technologies(yogurt making, general fermentation activities, genetic testing). Reintroducing the affordable domestic biotechnologies to the public releases them from buying what is essentially free. Through this process we can decommodify food and medicine and learn skills that can feed us and keep us healthy.

This paper explores examples of where this is being used already, and where it could go in the future.

SCANZ2013:Un Litro de Agua

Un Litro de Agua

Authors: Ana Terry, Don Hunter


Number 8 Collective (Ana Terry and Don Hunter) will present part of their collaborative community arts-based project, Un Litro de Agua, undertaken during their arts residency in Medellin, Colombia in 2012. The Un Litro de Agua premise was to initiate discussion and critical thinking around sustainable water practices through urban interventions and myth rejuvenation / reinterpretation through various artistic formats – focussing on river rejuvenation. The workshops and associated activities – both digital and non-digital – involved working with NGO’s Mi Sangri, Casa Tres Patios, and several youth groups of Comuna Tresé (Community Thirteen). During this process it became apparent that while the project’s sustainable thematic was the initial focal point, the very foundation to sustainable practices (whatever the ultimate focus) can only occur through collective agreement to work together negotiating cultural boarders – at micro and macro levels. In this instance boarders between discrete facilitators involved, ourselves as gringos/foreigners, and between families within a community. The later became of particular significance as the young workshop participants are victims of the last 20 years of drug gang violence that has resulted in displacement and a constantly shifting hierarchy between gangs and their associated families within the community. The Un Litro de Agua community project was, after considerable negotiation, embraced by the community leaders; as beyond introducing concepts of environmental care, it introduced and supported new ways sharing and retelling diverse cultural narratives, involving teamwork, valuing individual points of view, sharing of resources, and learning to use tools creatively rather than as weapons.

SCANZ2013:the very loud chamber orchestra of endangered species

The very loud chamber orchestra of endangered species

Author: Pinar Yoldas


Modern technology and culture has disconnected us from the rest of the world’s biota. Having built entirely man-made environments, we have distanced ourselves from the rest of the organisms on the planet. Having created the technology to control nature, we have alienated ourselves from the interspecies culture of mother earth . Feeling elevated, we have lost respect for other life forms, which have no less value than our own.

The VERY LOUD CHAMBER ORCHESTRA of ENDANGERED SPECIES is a collaborative art-science project, which explores the impact of environmental degradation on non-human animals. More specifically, it is a spatial data visualization and sonification project that aims to communicate environmental data on pollution, species and habitat loss to the general public in an engaging, non-technical manner. The spatial installation consists of skulls from various species. Each ‘cranial unit’ will be equipped with a servo motor and speakers and generate sound and movement in response to changes in the relevant data sets. By literally giving a VOICE to those whose habitats and lives are jeopardized by human activities, the project will initiate a subliminal emotional dialogue between viewers and the life forms that they often overlook. In essence, this project is an audible attempt to restore the dignity of other organisms that inhabit this planet and is an aesthetic amplifier of the negative consequences of our cultural choices. Alternatively, this project can be understood as a memento mori for those whose existence has been threatened, and a roaring wake-up call to the human race.


Balance-Unbalance: Arts + Science x Technology = Environment / Responsibility

Authors: Leah Barclay, Ricardo Dal Farra


We are living in a world reaching a critical point where the equilibrium between a healthy environment, the energy our society needs to maintain or improve this lifestyle and the interconnected economies could pass more quickly than expected from the current complex balance to a complete new reality where unbalance would be the rule and human beings would need to be as creative as never before to survive.

The arts could become a powerful tool of awareness and transformation in times of ecological threats, economic uncertainty and political complexity. Artists, scientists, economists, philosophers, politicians, sociologists, engineers, management and policy experts were sharing their knowledge, debating over different perspectives, exploring new projects and starting to build paths with the intent of engendering awareness and creating lasting intellectual working partnerships in solving our global environmental crisis during two conferences, one organized in Buenos Aires (2010) and the other in Montreal (2012). This panel explores outcomes and ideas from both conferences and introduces the framework for Balance-Unbalance 2013 (Future Nature, Future Culture[s]) hosted by Noosa Biosphere in Queensland, Australia.



SONIC ECOLOGIES: Practice-led intersections of sound art, science and technology in global communities

Author: Leah Barclay


The dramatic advancement of technology has truly cultivated a paradigm shift in how artists interact in both physical and virtual worlds. These changes have evolved and expanded our tools of expression but most importantly they have opened the ability to communicate at a higher level in an interdisciplinary context.

In a recent addition of Musicworks, Joel Chadabe stated that the current artistic practices of electroacousitc composers are rooted in the idea that new technologies, unlike traditional musical instruments, can produce sounds used to communicate core messages, including information about the state of our environment. He claims that we are all participating in the emergence of a new type of music accessible to anyone, which can be used to communicate ideas that relate more closely to life than those communicated through traditional musical forms. He believes we need to think of ourselves as “leaders in a magnificent revolution rather than the defenders of an isolate and besieged avant-garde” [1].

In a world where the catastrophic effects of climate change are rapidly becoming a bitter reality, there must be a role for sound in generating a shift in consciousness towards a sustainable future. The author explored this notion through practice-led doctoral research that involved conceiving and delivering seven original electroacoustic projects for dissemination in multi-platform environments. The divergent projects were created in cultural immersion, spanning from ambitious sonic explorations in the center of the Amazon Jungle to sounding the rivers of the world through India, Korea, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Throughout these projects it became evident that the environmental interconnectedness the western world has been seeking is still prevalent in many first nation cultures globally. These ancient knowledge systems argue that the process of simply listening to the environment could answer many of the world’s problems. This shares synergies with Attali’s seminal 1985 text where he refers to music as not just simply a reflection of culture but a “harbinger of change”. He states, “For twenty-five centuries, western knowledge has tried to look upon the world. It has failed to understand that the world is not for the beholding. It is for hearing. It is not legible, but audible” [2].

World leaders now looking towards the validity and possibilities of creative methodologies as tools for change, this presents both a challenge and an unprecedented opportunity for composers to gain a critical understanding of the situation, and take action in devising new processes for a sustainable future. Electroacoustic music, with the use of natural sounds, has a profound ability to ignite an awareness and connection to the environment. But is the role of the artist purely to comment on the crisis? To create awareness? Or can provocation extend beyond expression to create a behavioral shift in deeply engrained unsustainable ways of thinking?

This paper explores these questions and introduces Sonic Ecologies, a multi-platform methodology that could provide a framework to facilitate cultural change for a sustainable future. The core of this methodology pivots of a site-specific creative project embedded in a multi-layered community cultural engagement process. The research outcomes are introduced through three case studies of projects recently produced by the author in Australia and India and concludes with the conceptual design of Biosphere Soundscapes, a major international project developed with Sonic Ecologies highlighting the future possibilities of this model. These projects are ultimately acting as a catalyst and represent an unparalleled opportunity for artists reconnecting to the environment and taking action as agents of change in environmental emergency.

[1] Chadabe, J. “A call for avant-garde composers to make their work known to a larger public,” Musicworks, 2011. 111: pp. 6.

[2] Attali, J. Noise: the political economy of music. 1985, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.


SCANZ2013:Making Sense of Data

Echology: Making Sense of Data

Author: Vicki Sowry


We live in a culture of pervasive and ever-increasing amounts of data. Collection systems, both public and private, track who we are, what we do and how we live our lives. Beyond mere accumulation, data publication and analysis tools enable critical and creative approaches to data and its representation well beyond the intent and scope of its initial collection.

ECHOLOGY brings together Australia’s leading artists and a world leader in urban development to create data‐generated public artworks that engage with issues including sustainability, climate change and resource use. The use of real-time data to produce artworks presents an exciting and challenging platform for bringing otherwise abstract and hard-to-grasp information into our grounded, local spaces.

Free from the static nature of most public artworks, the data-driven ECHOLOGY works will constantly change throughout their ten-year lifespans, providing an ever-evolving experience of the works themselves, as well as the information they convey. This feedback loop – between local behaviour and its dynamic representation – will help to create strong community engagement with the works.

ECHOLOGY is presented by ANAT and Carbon Arts, in partnership with Lend Lease. It is a challenging project that seeks to bring together professional artists, leading-edge technologists, local urban communities and corporate interests, all the while preserving and advocating the value of each of the stakeholder groups throughout the project life-cycle. Vicki Sowry will introduce the project and draw on its research components to identify best-practice in conceiving of and delivering complex interdisciplinary arts projects.

SCANZ2013:Logics of nature

Logics of nature-driven technologies in a place Called America

Author: Gabriel Vanegas


The incomplete and misleading version of American history built from a Western perspective and post-colonial Americans, with its neglect of the rich history of pre-Columbian civilizations, has led me to deep research of possible logics and media-archeological evidence, that will give us a more generous understanding of nature-driven technologies and media of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, prior to European contact.

Archeological findings involving megalithic architecture, transoceanic exchanges with Asia and Oceania; tactile method of writing with the Incas’ Quipus, the three dimensional geometry and mathematics of the Yupana Inca; nano-structured materials such as Maya Blue pigment, the Mayan calendar, highly accurate astronomy; and other technological apparatuses and advanced developments, evidence the existence of a highly advanced and sustainable cultural, social and environmental system, that may give us alternatives and ideas for a more stable relationship with our environment and technological developments.

Did the tribes of the 15th century developed this technologies, or did they inherit them from a lost civilization?


SCANZ2013:Art in the Anthropocene

Comprehending Complexity: Art in the Anthropocene

Author: Josh Wodak


Climate change challenges the limits of human comprehension of causality and complexity, particularly the space-time dimensions of local vs global actions-and-consequences in the here-and-now vs distant future. This presentation concerns how art about the Anthropocene may facilitate public understandings of science, particularly the complexity of climate science in relation to climate change. Exemplary explorations in this endeavour are discussed in the context of contemporary ecological visions that may challenge how we perceive, imagine, and value the Earth.

This discussion is grounded by reference to my postdoctoral Practice Based Research of art about climate change. In particular, two current photo-portrait and video-portrait projects, ‘When I Was a Buoyant’ and ‘Jubilee Venn Diagrams?’, are produced through cross-cultural interchange and participation of the respective local communities of Marrickville, NSW and Grafton, NSW. Both projects explore strategies for communicating the complexity of climate change in an intuitive, embodied and visceral way for project participants and audiences alike, through use of digital photography, video art and sound art. The projects investigate mapping and modeling of past, present and future (predictions of) climate data to render apocalyptic imagining of what different climate trajectories mean for the planet in human-scale and planetary-scale time and space. The projects seeks to give voice to the perspectives of the participants as to what they make of the different climate trajectories in terms of their views on the complex reality of climate science. These case studies are presented to illustrate techniques for exploring how climate change challenges collective and individual agency, and of the space-time dimensions of natural and human history.