1999 National Summer School in Art + Science

Fourteen artists from across Australia participated in the 1999 National Summer School in Science and Art, coordinated by ANAT at Metro Screen, Sydney, NSW, 11 – 29 January, 1999.

Rodney Berry, Feeping Creatures

Rodney Berry, Feeping Creatures

This Tenth National Summer School addressed the interaction between art and science as a key component of our research and investigation into this area. The school investigated the discrete discourses surrounding sciences and media arts and encouraged the generation of unexpected and alchemic outcomes.

Over the intensive three week duration of the school, participants gained access to skills in an array of diverse areas, such as scientific visualisation techniques and software, computer programming and modelling languages, sound, visual and web-based computer media, evolutionary approaches to computer programming, cognitive science and philosophy of mind. Because of the scope and breadth of the science focus, ANAT engaged a range of different tutors for this year’s school, attempting to create specialised workshop situations, as well as the more traditional masterclass learning environment.

The artists were exposed to expert tutelage by some of Australia’s leading science and art practitioners, including, John Tonkin, Mr Snow, Horst Kiechle, Dennis Wilcox, Justine Cooper, Paul Brown, Sophea Lerner, Andrew Lyons, Suzanne Buljan, Stephen Jones, Ben Simons, Derek Kreckler, and Metro’s Digital Media Manager, Brad Miller.

As well as the intensive program at Metro, the artists also participated in workshops at Sydney’s Vislab facilities, and contextualised their training with excursions, studio visits and outings to performances and radio shows by Triclops International, Gravity Feed, Skadada, and Zina Kaye.

To culturally contextualise the school, a satellite event, entitled anamorphosis, combined a forum with an open day of the school, giving the public and media an opportunity to view the work-in-progress produced by the students. This gala event, held at the Chauvel Cinema in Paddington, Sydney, showcased not only the innovations of the artists participating in the school, but also the work of several key artists engaged with science practices. The evening combined a series of artists’ presentations, with a forum to exchange ideas and experiences of the summer school participants.

Beginning the artists talks with an introduction to the concepts of anamorphic distortion, keynote speaker, Paula Dawson, internationally renowned holographic artist, contextualised the science focus of the Summer School within the framework of her own practice. She made reference to the skills she developed as a participant of the Summer School in 1990, and expanded on forthcoming plans for the artwork she began developing during that school. Greenworld is a holographic work which Paula intends to site directly on the Tropic of Capricorn, near the
Great Barrier Reef. At this precise point, at specific times of the year, viewers will be able to see a holographic image by the light of the full moon, superimposed on to the ocean,

Sydney based artist Rodney Berry discussed his artificial ecology, Feeping Creatures, an art project using principals drawn from artificial life research. Rodney discussed how the ecology, which is based on a Silicon Graphics O2 workstation, generates music and graphics through the evolution and behaviours of synthetic organisms.

Each creature produces a series of musical notes which remain unchanged throughout its life, while rhythmic material evolves when creatures eat plants (or other creatures) or devolves through starvation, and ageing.

Ionat Zurr and Oron Catts, artists from Perth, discussed the Tissue Culture and Art research project. Ionat, who was also a participant of this year’s school, and Oron have been selected as ANAT’s first deep immersion: scientific serendipity artists in residence.

anamorphosis also gave the public and media an opportunity to view work-in-progress by the participants of this year’s school. A CDROM documenting the diverse history of the ANAT National Summer Schools, produced on behalf on ANAT by Sydney artist, Lloyd Sharp, was also available for viewing.

The artists who attended the 1999 National Summer School were:
Rodney Berry, Sydney, NSW
Liz Hughes, Sydney, NSW
Geni Weight, Adelaide, SA
Melinda Burgess, Werri Beach, NSW
Solange Kershaw, Sydney, NSW
Jordan Wynnychuk, Melbourne, VIC
Lea Collins, Canberra, ACT
Gordon Monro, Sydney, NSW
Ionat Zurr, Perth WA
Adam Donovan, Brisbane, OLD
Stephen Poljansek, Hobart.TAS
Jeremy Yuille, Brisbane, OLD
Chris Fortescue, Sydney, NSW
Rea, Sydney, NSW

The National Summer School was supported by: the Federal Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; the Queensland Government’s Office of Arts and Cultural Development through Queensland Artworker’s Alliance; the New South Wales Film and Television Office; and the Minister for Education and the Arts through Arts Tasmania.This year’s School also received support from Metro Screen, the University of Sydney’s Vislab, and the University of New South Wales’ College of Fine Arts. Stelarc’s attendance at anamorphosis was assisted by dLux media arts and the Casula Powerhouse.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply