Day 2, Stream 5


Creation, Collaboration and Consumption


Megan Monte: Campbelltown Arts Centre, Australia


Troy Innocent: Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

Ben Kolaitis: Independent artist, Australia

Stephen Jones: College of Fine Arts, University of NSW, Australia

Pia van Gelder: College of Fine Arts, University of NSW, Australia



Catching Light alluded to a number of components within the development of new works in the realm of new media, pairing artists from different generations within the new media movement who have chosen analogue and digital technologies as the most appropriate channel of enquiry for their current work, or have a practice reliant on engagement. Catching Light aims to draw on conversation, participation and interaction as means of informing us, the audience, as to how we communicate, or respond to art. Interesting questions can be raised as to how artists engage with new media now, and how new media was perceived at a time when these technologies were groundbreaking, analysing the technical and theoretical discoveries and foundation knowledge surrounding video synthesis and robotics. The panel discussion between collaborating artists Troy Innocent & Ben Kolaitis, and Stephen Jones & Pia van Gelder, will respond to these ideas with reference to their new works, their collaborative practice and their roles within the new media community.


Troy Innocent & Benjamin Kolaitis: A talk about compositional gameplay and musical instrumentation 

Play Parameters is an experimental sonic and performative excursion into the art of gameplay. In this imaginative and inventive arts project, Troy Innocent and Benjamin Kolaitis have designed an interactive installation that meshes visual and compositional gameplay elements with the structural elements of musical instrumentation.

The concept was inspired by Moholy-Nagy’s Light-Space Modulator, Gysin and Burrough’s Dreamachine and 1970s analog generative art systems, with close inspection of the sonic components by expanding upon the early work of Reed Ghazala and David Tudor. Sonic Arts Union, 1970s artists Alvin Lucier and Gordon Mumma are also a point of reference, while Jon Rose and Alan Lamb have notably influenced the scope and direction of this project.

Building on this rich history of experimental hybrid sonic and visual arts practice, this project aims to extend this practice, testing the boundaries and beyond with new performative possibilities afforded by DIY electronics and the increased literacy of audiences in gameplay.

The outcome of the installation is an experimental game controller that may be used by other artists to build their own art games. It will also draw a context back to the early developments within this practice, creating an alternate platform for experimentation and interactive demonstrations.


Stephen Jones & Pia van Gelder: A talk on Video Synthesises to accompany the Catching Light panel at ISEA13

This paper looks at the video synthesiser as a primary visual/audio source of abstract images in International and Australian video art. Video synthesisers are mostly analogue or hybrid devices having an analogue video signal as their output; they are not computer imaging systems, although several were controlled and patched by using a microprocessor. They can be played live, and are more like musical instruments than computers in their usage.

The presentation begins by examining the variety of devices that were built and the techniques used in most video synthesisers, and looks briefly at some of the earliest video synthesisers from the U.S. and Britain. Video synthesisers began as colourisers; e.g. Eric Siegal’s device of 1968 – or manipulators of the colours of an existing image; e.g. the Paik/Abe video synthesiser of 1970. As audio synthesisers became more readily available they, or oscillator packages derived from them, began to be used as pattern generators; e.g. the EMS Spectre, of 1975, which also used digital shape storage devices in read only memory. Pattern storage using digital memory was also a feature of the Beck Video Weaver, of 1973, which used writable memory to store shapes and read them out to the screen.

The presentation then follows up with more detail on a variety of video synthesisers built and used in Australia. These include John Hansen’s hybrid analogue and digital microprocessor-controlled video synthesiser that eventually became a fully-fledged 2D Computer drawing package, Peter Vogel’s specially designed collection of oscillators that he used to produce an enhanced Musicolour device, the EMS Spectre used at La Trobe University by Warren Burt, David Chesworth and other students of Burt, and finally the series of video synthesisers built in Sydney by Stephen Jones over the period from 1978 to 1982. The presentation will include short video excerpts from many of these machines.