2004/2005 Synapse Residency Program

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

The following Australian artists were awarded Synapse residencies for 2005/2006:

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.

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 series 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).


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.


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