Day 2, Stream 3


Ecologies and Technologies


Deborah Ely


Nigel Helyer: Sonic Objects, Australia

Josie Starrs: artist, Australia

Jodi Newcombe: Carbon Arts, Australia

Leon Cmielewski: University of Western Sydney, Australia

Garth Paine: Arizona State University

Deborah Ely: Bundanon Trust, Australia

Robyn Backen: artist, Australia

Linda Dement: artist, Australia

Gary Warner: artist, Australia



Over the last four years, the Siteworks project has invited selected arts practitioners, scientists and scholars to meet and stay at Bundanon, 1100 hectares of pristine bushland overlooking the Shoalhaven River in NSW, two hours drive south of Sydney. In responding to the site through the lens of their specific disciplines and areas of interest, this has led to an ongoing series of interactive projects, stimulating conversations and collaborative site-specific projects.

The roundtable will involve participants from national and international locations who have delivered artworks, installations, performances, papers and discussion at the SITEWORKS conversation held each Spring at Bundanon.



Deborah Ely is the CEO of the Bundanon Trust. An artist and art historian, she has formerly been the Visual Arts and Craft Program Manager for Arts NSW, and Director of the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney, the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne and the Watershed Media Centre in Bristol.

Nigel Helyer (a.k.a. Dr Sonique) is a Sydney based sculptor and sound artist with an international reputation for his large scale sonic installations, environmental sculpture works and new media projects. His practice is actively inter-disciplinary, linking creative practice with scientific research and development. Recent activities include the development of a ‘Virtual Audio Reality’ system in collaboration with Lake Technology (Sydney) and the ongoing ‘AudioNomad’ research project in location sensitive Environmental Audio at the School of Computer Science and Engineering, University of New South Wales. He is an honorary faculty member in Architectural Acoustics at the University of Sydney, and maintains active research links with the SymbioticA biotechnology lab at the University of Western Australia. He has recently been a visiting Professor at Stanford University and an Artist in Residence at the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland. Nigel is a co-founder and commissioner of the “SoundCulture” organisation; a recent fellow of the Australia Council for 2002/3; the winner of the Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award 2002; and the curator of Sonic-Differences as part of the Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth 2004. Primary websites:,,

Robyn Backen is an interdisciplinary artist whose work makes connections between art, science and philosophy. Her installations actively engage with the spaces which they inhabit – whether gallery, landscape or building: the site provides the structural and associative framework for both formal and conceptual elements. Backen investigates patterns of language and rhythms of nature to build works which engage with physical space.

Garth Paine is Senior Lecturer in Music Technology at UWS and director of the Virtual, Interactive, Performance Research Environment (VIPRE). He is internationally regarded as an innovator in the field of interactivity in experimental music and media arts, creating several interactive responsive environments in which inhabitants generate the sonic landscape through their presence and behaviour. His principle interest is sound as a fluid, viscous medium, which whilst very abstract communicates both content and context. In recent years he has been involved in several artlab projects with George Khut, Hellen Sky and Jon Rose, and is part of the Stelarc Thinking Head project, a 5 year ARC funded research project.

Josephine Starrs and Leon Cmielewski are Australian artists and researchers who create and exhibit media art projects for national and international audiences. Their work is situated at the juncture of cinema, information visualisation, and data mapping, playing off the tensions between the large and small screen, and between information and sublime landscape. Over the past decade they have collaborated on several projects, including Incompatible Elements, developed during an artist residency at Performance Space, Carriageworks, Sydney. The installation explores new ways of representing the relationship between nature and culture by embedding poetic texts into animated satellite images of landscapes in crisis in the Asia/Pacific region. Incompatible Elements has been shown several times in Australia and overseas, including at the Auckland Arts Festival in 2011 and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, 2012. Their video installation Waterways, exploring Sydney Harbour, was commissioned by San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery and exhibited in San Francisco and Sydney in 2011. Starrs is currently honorary Senior Lecturer in Film and Digital Art, Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, while Cmielewski is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney.

Linda Dement is a Sydney based artist. Initially a photographer, she has been working in arts computing since the late eighties.  Her interactive and still image work has been widely exhibited internationally and locally, including at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, Ars Electronica in Austria, the International Symposia of Electronic Art in Sydney and Montreal, and the Impakt Media Arts Festival in Europe. She is twice winner of the Australian National Digital Art Award (the Harries), has been awarded a New Media Arts Fellowship by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Gary Warner is an artist who works mostly with digital media systems, creating a variety of time-based and static works with video, photography, sound, found object, internet, installation and word (haiku, tanka and cutup forms). He has a strong interest in Australian bush ecologies, especially interdependencies between native birds, invertebrates, reptiles and flora. A brief visit to Bundanon in 2007 gave Gary the opportunity to appreciate the remnant of surviving native bushland there, and the significant threat posed to it by invasive weed species. During the 2009 residency Gary proposes to explore this tension via a program of daily weeding meditation, production of books, grid-montage quicktime movies, and a flickr website.

Jodi Newcombe is a creative producer generating innovative projects at the intersection of art, technology and sustainability. Trained as an engineer (BChE, University of Sydney) and environmental economist (MSc, University College London) Jodi sees trans-disciplinary modes of thinking and collaborating as the way out of the current ecological crisis. After a 15 year consultancy career in natural resource management to public and private sector clients in Europe and Australia, Jodi set up Carbon Arts to bring a stronger creative voice to these challenges.

She is currently developing a number of significant public artworks in partnership with leading artists and arts organisations, developers and government that seek to influence the public’s stewardship of the environment. Use of real-time data, sensing technology and social media are key features of this work. Together these features create a new legibility for the often invisible forces of nature and generate playful and rewarding experiences of environmental leadership.