ISEA2013 and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority present Electronic Art at the Rocks Pop-up, a special feature in the ongoing pop-up program at The Rocks. ISEA2013 has selected seven outstanding interactive media works from across the globe to occupy five pop-up spaces that bring the latest in contemporary art into the heart of this historic area of Sydney.

The Rocks Pop-up

The Rocks Pop-up is a Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority initiative which activates temporarily vacant buildings by providing creative workers with access to affordable space to produce and showcase original work, and host unique events. The Rocks Pop-up is proud to connect Sydney’s broader arts and creative community with the living heritage that is The Rocks.


Temple of Din (Audio Arcade Project)
Lucas Abela

Shop 25, Rocks Square, Level 1, 10-22 Playfair Street, The Rocks – 8 to 10 June, 12-7 pm
Shop 2.06, 140 George Street, The Rocks – 13 June to 14 July, 12-7 pm (closed Tues & Wed)


ISEA2013 presents Lucas Abela’s Temple of Din, an audio arcade where sound generation – not scoring – are the games’ main objective; featuring:
Balls for Cathulu (2013)
A pentagram shaped pinball game emblazoned with fluorescent graphics by the Rev Kriss Hades depicting the lord of the deep ones. A multiplayer pinball game with five players stationed at each of the stars five points. The outer triangular walls of the star are made from ten guitars with their fret boards facing inward into the playfield, while in the central pentagon ten pop bumpers are connected to a drum machine. These are all connected to various audio effects triggered by targets positioned throughout the game. So when the balls bounce off the strings distorted open tunings are produced while the pop bumpers accompany the din with a chaotic drum solo.
Pinball Pianola (2012)
A Frankenstein experiment, combining the greatest musical invention of all time, the Piano; with the coolest amusement machines ever conceived; Pinball, to create an interactive sound installation like no other; ‘Pinball Pianola’ a musical device constructed by replacing the keyboard, hammers and front panelling of an upright piano, with a pinball cabinet butted up perpendicular against its exposed strings. Embracing high and low culture this instrument allows virtuosos and wizards alike to pit their skills in a game where musical compositions are created as metallic balls jettisoned into the game clash with the pianos resonating wires to make what Wired magazine called “terrible, beautiful music”.


All machines devised and constructed by Lucas Abela
Audio effects: Hirofumi Uchino
Additional electronic engineering: Danial Stocks
Pinball Pianola playfield art and decals: Keg de Souza
Balls for Cthulhu playfield art: Rev Kriss Hades

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

Initially classed as a turntablist, Lucas Abela’s work rarely resembled anything in the field. Early feats saw him stab vinyl with Kruger-style stylus gloves, perform death-defying duet duels with amplified samurai swords, and be hospitalised by high-powered turntables constructed from sewing machine motors. Over the years his turntablist roots have became almost unrecognisable, evolving into his infamous glass show, performed countless times in over 45 countries. Redefining the expression ‘don’t try this at home’, he extracts the most extraordinary sounds from shards of broken glass. Now after a long performance career his ideas have crossed over into sound installation with works like The Vinyl Rally (RC cars raced on vinyl), Mix Tape (accessible audio tape) and Pinball Pianola (a pinball/piano hybrid) that highlight his desire to create interactive installations for musical play.  dualplover.com/abela/


Unhomely – Reynold’s Cottage
Kate Richards, Ross Gibson and Aaron Seymour (Australia)

Reynolds Cottage, 28 Harrington Street, The Rocks - 8 June to 30 June, 5.30pm – 10pm (every night)

unhomely final

Reynolds Cottage in The Rocks is processed and possessed in this premiere of a new work from the Life After Wartime suite, an ongoing body of electronic art that poetically engages with Sydney’s criminal past through archival police photographs (1945-60). With ‘Unhomely’ the artists set loose an historical reverie, reanimating a site soaked in centuries of humanity.  As winter’s dusk encroaches on The Rocks, a dream of past occupants and events unfolds through the windows of Reynold’s Cottage.  The spectacle is uncanny, luminous and touching. This old home gets transformed into an uncanny magic lantern disclosing a dark city’s yearning.

‘Unhomely’ can be viewed from two perspectives – 28 Harrington Street and the rear, accessible from the public square off Suez Canal. The images come from several local crimes, from murders to petty theft, abortion and illegal gambling.


Kate Richards is an electronic media artist, producer, new media dramaturge and academic. Her recent work spans most of the convergent space, from multichannel installations (Bystander 2007, the Museum of Sydney video wall 2003), to software (sub_scape with Sarah Waterson 2004-08, Wayfarer (Global Agents) with Martyn Coutts 2010, live performance, data mapping and projection (Encoded with Stalker Theatre 2012, Bloodbath 2010, Travels in Beautiful Desolation 2010), and virtual worlds (Foul Whisperings, Strange Matters 2007 with Ely-Harper and Thomas). She is the co-ordinator for the Masters of Convergent Media at UWS, and is currently developing a new, highly affective environment called grove. As a producer she has worked with corporate and cultural sector clients since 2000. katerichards.net

Ross Gibson, an award winning writer and media artist whose installations, films and books have been distributed worldwide, is currently Professor of Contemporary Arts at Sydney College of the Arts. His media arts works range from short and feature films (Camera Natura 1987, Dead to The World 1991, WILD 1993) to immersive, interactive installations including The Bond Store, 1995 for the Museum of Sydney, Conversations (with Jeffrey Shaw and Denis del Favaro), 2005, and Conversations II for the Biennale of Sydney, 2008. As a curator he has worked at the MCA, Museum of Sydney, the Drill Hall, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Object Gallery and Pacific Wave Festival, and he was the inaugural commissioning curator at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne. He has had 11 books published, plus the blog Accident Music, over 30 book chapters, and many journal articles. www.rossgibson.com.au

Aaron Seymour, an artist, designer and academic, is the visual designer for Life After Wartime. Alongside his art practice, he has designed numerous audience experiences for museums and cultural institutions, harnessing interactive technologies to bring museological and archival collections to life. His short films have twice been nominated for AFI awards, screening internationally, and are held in state and national film archive collections. He has developed identity, publication, communication and exhibition design work for clients including Sydney Dance Company, Björk, Sydney Opera House Trust, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Levis Europe and London’s Wellcome Collection. Since entering academia he has pursued experimental graphic applications of new material and fabrication technologies, and curated Graphic Material, UTS Gallery, 2010. His current research focuses on the affective potential of designed space. www.aaronseymour.com/

Images used with the kind permission of the NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive, Justice and Police Museum, Historic Houses Trust of NSW.


Marco De Mutiis (Hong Kong/Italy)
85 George Street, The Rocks – 8 June to 16 June


Image credit: photo by Henry K. Fung.

Clack, clack, clack – does that sound remind you of something? The moving sections of Solari Board flap displays echoed throughout airports and railway stations around the globe before the advent of LEDs, leaving their distinctive sound and mechanisms embedded within local and personal memories that span half a century. This installation, based on a disused Solari Board, attempts to piece together and offer up a fragmented universe of personal memories, from local archival documents, images, footage and interviews. Continually reconfiguring itself erratically, it searches for bits and pieces of the past; thus data is interwoven with imperfect human memories to create a hybrid and dynamic text-based representation which lies between a past that is being distanced and one that is being remembered – revealing the problematic natures of history and memory, of information and communication, and of our experience of time.


De Mutiis holds an MFA in Creative Media (City University of Hong Kong). He works with digital and analog media, exploring the relationship between the virtual and physical world. He re-engineers old sewing machines, split-flap displays and other mechanical devices to create kinetic installations that raise issues of perception and communication. His works have been shown locally and internationally in galleries, festivals and art fairs, including FILEElectronic Language International Festival, New Media Archeology at ART HK 11 – Hong Kong International Art Fair and Hong Kong Contemporary Art Awards 2013. He is currently working as a Senior Research Associate in the School of Creative Media (City University of Hong Kong), where he is also Assistant Director for the CityU Laptop Orchestra. He is executive manager of Contemporary Musiking, an organisation promoting sound art in Hong Kong, and has recently co-founded the art collective SUPERTIMEΣ.

Technical consultants: Kenny Wong Chi-Chuen, Philip Kretschmann.


Theta Lab
George Poonkhin Khut and James Brown (Australia)

The Rocks, Shop 2.05, 136 George Street
Fri–Sun, 7th – 9th June, 6–10 pm

George Khut

George Khut, Distillery: Waveforming, 2012 (portrait of Bec and Estee)
Image credit:  photo by Julia Charles

Theta Lab is an experimental art research project combining brainwave biofeedback interactions with participatory art and electronic music, to explore and document qualities of attention and subjectivity facilitated by Alpha/Theta neurofeedback training. Live electronic soundscapes modulated by changes in Theta and Alpha brainwave amplitude will assist participants to voluntarily shift their mental activity to a deep, hypnogogic stillness, a state of consciousness between wakefulness and dreaming. The aim of the project is to explore new contexts for aesthetic interactions, and to document the range of experiences afforded by this unusual form of human-computer interaction.

Theta Lab Demonstration Events

Theta Lab will present four demonstration events open to the public. Selected participants will interact with the Theta Lab neurofeedback soundscapes, then share aspects of their experience with audiences via video interviews and hand-drawn experiential maps. The public can get involved in two ways, either as demonstration participants or as audiences for the demonstrations.

Participation is limited to 9x 90-minute sessions per evening, each consisting of:

  • 5 minute EEG sensor fitting and tuning
  • 5 minute neurofeedback induction session
  • 40 minute neurofeedback interaction
  • 40 minute interview to share your experience and impressions

To register your interest in participating as an interacting  ’subject’ in these demonstration events, please visit  http://georgekhut.com. Bookings open Wed 1st May.

Theta Lab ISEA2013 Workshop

Theta Lab will also host a special 4-hour workshop for ISEA2013 delegates. Methods and strategies used in the project will be discussed, together with an opportunity for participants to get some hands-on experience with the tools and mapping processes at the heart of the work.

For full details on the workshop and to find out how to register, please go to Theta Lab Workshop.

Presented by ISEA2013 and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority ‘Rocks PopUp’, and supported by dLuxMediaArts.

George Poonkhin Khut is an Australian artist and design-researcher working across the fields of electronic art, design and health. He holds a Doctorate of Creative Arts from the University of Western Sydney for his research into biofeedback-based interactive artworks. He has exhibited his work across Australia, the UK and Asia. Recent projects include Distillery: Waveforming at Queensland Art Gallery’s Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), for which he was awarded the National New Media Art Award (2012), The Heart Library Project, recently exhibited at St. Vincent’s Public Hospital, Sydney, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Cardiomorphologies (Biennale of Electronic Arts, Perth, 2007), and Thinking Through The Body, an interdisciplinary research group exploring the use of somatic bodywork methodologies and human-centred design as frameworks for  body-focused interactive art. georgekhut.com/

James Brown is a Sydney-based composer and visual artist working in sound design, photography, illustration and animation. He holds a Masters of Audio Design and Digital Media from Sydney University (Major: Sound Design). James has been working collaboratively with theatre companies both locally and internationally for around seven years to produce live soundtracks and visuals for live performances. Recent composition and sound design projects include Matthew Day’s Intermission, Cannibal and Thousands, Victoria Hunt’s Copper Promises, Neil Bromwich and Zoe Walker’s Celestial Radio, Company SOIT’s Café Prukel and Nomads (Belgium/Vienna), Matthew Prest and Claire Britton’s Hole in the Wall, Whale Chorus’ Rhapsody and Karen Therese’s The Riot Act. www.jamesbrownisdead.com/


It’s a jungle in here
Isobel Knowles & Van Sowerwine with Matthew Gingold (Australia)

The Rocks, Shop 2.03, 140 George Street – 8 to 16 June


What happens when an everyday encounter becomes not so everyday? This interactive installation explores the boundaries between what’s OK and what’s not in daily life. Participants become performers in a drama in which they have little control. Animated frame-by-frame using paper puppets and a diorama of a train line, the work is a stand-alone cabinet of wonders. Interact with the work and transform yourself into someone quite unexpected.


Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine have collaborated since 2001 on stop-motion animation in films and interactive installations. It’s a jungle in here premiered at the 2011 Melbourne Festival and won an Award of Distinction for Interactive Arts, Prix Ars Electronica 2012. Their 2010 installation You Were In My Dream won the 2010 Premier of Queensland’s National New Media Art Award and toured nationally with Experimenta and internationally with Asialink throughout 2010-12. They have exhibited both nationally and also internationally, and their short animation Clara won a Special Distinction at Cannes Film Festival (2004) and a Golden Hugo at the Chicago Film Festival. www.isobelandvan.com

Matthew Gingold has been developing and implementing technology in performance and installation for the last 15 years. His works have been presented both in Australia, and also internationally at Ars Electronica (Austria), Expo Bicentenario (Mexico), Hi Seoul Festival (Korea), MOCA Taipei (Taiwan) and The Melaka International Arts Festival (Malaysia). He recently completed a residency at the Ars Electronica Futurelab in Austria, and was a project leader for Interactivos? ’12 in Ljubjlana. He is currently working on several projects, including a permanent installation for the Melbourne Museum and an interactive dance work for Surrey Urban Screen in Vancouver. www.gingold.com.au


Please Smile
Hye Yeon Nam (Korea / USA)

Shop 2.03, 140 George Street, The Rocks – 8 June to 16 June

 Please Smile

How engaging is your smile? Come and find out! Hye Yeon Nam sets out to “foster positive audience behaviors” with this interactive work – how do you think you will relate to her robots?!


Hye Yeon Nam is a digital media artist working on interactive installations, performance video, speculative design and experimental games. She foregrounds the complexity of social relationships by making the familiar strange, and interpreting everyday behaviors in performative ways. She has exhibited extensively in the USA and internationally, including in the Smithsonians National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C. (2011-2012), Times Square (2009), Eyebeam and The Tank, the conflux, D.U.M.B.O. Art Festival, New York (2009), FILE (2011, 2012), SIGGRAPH (2008, 2010), CHI (2010, 2012), ISEA (2011), E3 Expo (2011), the Lab in San Francisco, and has participated in festivals around the world. Her work has also been featured on TV and in several publications.

Developer: Hye Yeon Nam
Computer Vision Consultant: Changhyun Choi

This project was commissioned by the Next Generation Design Leaders Program, which is funded by the Korean Ministry of Knowledge and Economy (MKE) and administered by the Korea Institute of Design Promotion (KIDP).


A Walk Through Deep Time
Trudy Lane and Halsey Burgund (NZ, USA)

Guided Walking Tour:  Sunday 9th & Mon 10th June, 1–3 pm
Meet:  Shop 2.03, 140 George Street, The Rocks

Audioscape available:  7 to 16 June

Walk through

Join in on a walk through 4.57 billion years of the earth’s history, laid out to scale as an exploration of ‘deep‘ or geologic time in The Rocks, a historic area of Sydney.  Inhabiting the length of this trail are tiny collected ‘wonders’ and an evolving, location-sensitive audioscape of musical elements and participant voices. Roving discussions events will be held along the trail (rain or shine), to which you are invited to bring your own wonders on the topics of time, energy and ancestors. Participants can also experience the audioscape at any time, and can record and contribute their own thoughts using the free Deep Time iOS app or online. Participants are advised to bring headphones for the audioscape, and iOS devices also for the walk events. Trail maps can be picked up from the event meeting place, or online at the project page.

For more information about the project and how to participate, please visit:


iOS Development – Joe Zobkiw
Local support - Bernadette Flynn
Project Support  – www.intercreate.org/

Trudy Lane is an artist, curator and digital media designer whose work has an ecological and social focus. In her art practise she seeks to create inspiring models of encounter between specialised cultures of knowledge. Awesome scales of time and space are explored as spaces of unknowing that might encourage a re-imagining. The artist’s long-term project here involves developing an entity known as The House of Wonder. Previous work developing online exhibitions and participatory projects while at the Walker Art Center won her international awards, and collaboratively developed artworks have been exhibited at events and venues such as VIPER (Lucerne), European Media Art Festival (Osnabruck), FILE – Electronic Language International Festival (Sao Paulo), Big Torino (Turin), and Documenta (Kassel). www.thehouseofwonder.org

Halsey Burgund is a musician and sound artist whose installations and musical performances make extensive use of spoken human voice recordings as musical elements, alongside traditional and electronic instruments. Halsey has exhibited and performed in museums and galleries internationally, including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Puke Ariki Museum (NZ), the Museum of Science, Boston and the California Academy of Sciences.  He was awarded a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship to explore their audio archives for future work and published an artist project in the Public Art Dialogue journal in 2012.  Halsey’s band, Aesthetic Evidence, performs his music publicly, using various customized electronic instruments to reproduce the voices within the context of composed works. www.halseyburgund.com


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