2011 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 2012:

Dr Nigel Helyer + University of Tasmania

HelyerSound artist and sculptor Dr Nigel Helyer is partnering with marine scientist, Dr Mary-Anne Lea, from the newly-founded Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania. Their collaboration seeks to extend the visualisation and interpretation of marine and Antarctic geo-spatial datastreams through integration with sound and multi-dimensional data representations.  Helyer’s work on acoustic cartographies has been developed over many years, with past projects realised at SymbioticA (Australia), the Paul Scherrer Institut (Switzerland) and the Tropical Marine Research Labs (Singapore), amongst others. The Synapse residency will allow Helyer and Lea to test the potential for conceptual and intuitive approaches to otherwise abstract and complex marine datasets.

Image: Screen grab from the Bio_logging sonic cartography

Dr George Poonkhin Khut + The Children’s Hospital at Westmead

KhutArtist, Dr George Khut, has established a unique practice over the past decade making body-focused interactive artworks that invite people to explore and reflect on their experience of themselves and the world around them.  In his Synapse residency, Khut worked alongside Dr Angie Morrow, a paediatrician with Kids Rehab at The Childrens Hospital Westmead. Together they pursued research into the development of an interactive, multimedia device for children to aid in the relief of pain and anxiety associated with undergoing recurrent painful rehabilitative and surgical procedures. At the completion of the residency the research was used to inform the production of a device for clinical trialling in 2012 with the financial backing of the Kirby Foundation.

Image: iPod still from BrightHearts Project prototype

Dr Mary Rosengren + CSIRO

RosengrenThe CSIRO is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research organisations in the world. As part of its research, the CSIRO manages a number of significant collections, including the National Herbarium, the Australian National Insect Collection and the National Soils Archive, all based in Canberra. Artist, Dr Mary Rosengren, based herself with each of these collections during her Synapse residency in order to investigate and articulate the connections between different aspects of CSIRO research and to extend professional thinking about interdisciplinarity and the appraisal of images within science and art contexts. The results of the research informed ‘Spectra’, an exhibition and symposium hosted by the CSIRO Discovery Centre as part of its 2012 Public Program.

Image: Bird specimens from the CSIRO wildlife collection

Catherine Truman + Department of Anatomy & Histology, Flinders University

trumanUnderstanding the human body and its representation is a requirement across diverse disciplines including science, philosophy and the creative arts. For medical students, however, the capacity to learn and remember detailed human anatomy is crucial to their studies and their future professional lives.  In this Synapse residency, artist and former Australia Council of the Arts Fellow, Catherine Truman, will work alongside Professor Ian Gibbins, Head of Anatomy and Histology at Flinders University, to build upon their earlier collaborative research activity investigating pedagogical tools, processes and environments that have the potential to optimise the uptake and retention of anatomical learning.

Image: Touch to Know – Classroom activity focussed on understanding the spine

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