Day 3, Stream 1


Converging and diverging realities


Susan Best: College of Fine Arts, UNSW, Australia


Erica Seccombe: Australian National University, Australia

Barbara Rauch: Ontario College of Art and Design, Canada

Elizabeth Eastland: University of Wollongong, Australia

Chris Henschke: School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Australia



This panel includes four artists, working on a diverse range of interdisciplinary collaborative projects, who address sensation, meaning and affect in their work. Each participant will present their practice with an emphasis on their observations about creating work in an interdisciplinary context, the results of this methodology and a description with examples of how their work offers sensate and imaginative outcomes. The subsequent discussion and audience participation will focus on the divergences and convergences between art, science and technology in a changing world, and how the salience of contemporary societal issues are addressed in creative interdisciplinary practice.

The panel will use the following paper as a basis for its discussion points:

Best, Sue, ‘What is Affect? Considering the Affective Dimension of Contemporary Installation Art’ in AAANZ Journal of Art, vol. 2, no. 2, 2001 and vol.3, no.1, 2001, pp.207-225.

Audience members are encouraged to read the article prior to the session:




Susan Best teaches art history and theory at the University of New South Wales. She is the author of Visualizing Feeling: Affect and the feminine avant-garde (I B Tauris, 2011).

Elizabeth Eastland is a PhD Candidate at Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney University and Artist in Residence at the Australian Institute of Intelligent Materials at the University of Wollongong. Using video as both documentary record and art form, her project consists of filming four different scientists in materials, biochemistry and physics as they perform their research. At the heart of this investigation is the idea of the laboratory and studio as a theatre for the exploration of the unknown and the creation of new knowledge. A central question she explores is how artists and scientists relate in their abandonment of a priori forms as they search for the not yet discovered. She is interested in how the approach to the unknown, the culture of science, the materials used, the technologies and a priori assumptions, define the experience of the unknown and shape the creation of knowledge. Her project examines contemporary manifestations of the sublime, particularly the existential terror of the unknown as it relates to fields of knowledge. Her films explore how scientists engaged in the creation of knowledge negotiate this terror.

Chris Henschke is a practicing artist and lecturer in Media & Communication at RMIT University, who has been working with digital media since the late Twentieth Century. His main area of practice is in collaborative art / science experiments. He has worked with Australian Synchrotron since 2005, through a variety of official and unofficial art residencies, commissions, exhibitions, and curatorial projects. His ongoing relationships with synchrotron scientists have allowed him to take several visits to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and organise the Colliding Ideas – art, society and physics symposium in July 2012, which was a satellite event of the 36th International Conference of High Energy Physics where the discovery of the Higgs Boson was announced. Currently he is a PhD candidate at Monash University, where he is undertaking practice-led research into methodological and epistemological relationships between theory and practice within and across the disciplines of media art and particle physics.

Dr. Barbara Rauch is an artist practitioner and research academic. She is a Digital Futures Initiative hire, in a tenure-track position at OCAD University, Toronto in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Graduate Studies. Rauch is the Graduate Program Director for the Interdisciplinary Masters Program in Art, Media & Design (IAMD), and the Principal Investigator of the e_Motion Research Project in the Digital Media Research and Innovation Institute, researching the development of emotion with the facilitation of data analysis, using advanced technology in 3D printing, sculpting and analysis. “In the lab we aim to designate an alternative format of acknowledging research by instigating discourse around the topic of emotion, feeling and affect in artistic practice. Situating ourselves in an academic and interdisciplinary research- and practice-led environment, we consider the ‘studio’ as a geographic and emotional location in which process and production takes place. Through practice-led research, we connect current studio practices to reflexive, visual analysis, as a transformative research methodology.”

Erica Seccombe, a 2010 recipient of Synapse, ANAT, is currently a PhD candidate at the Australian National University School of Art, where she is undertaking a practice-led research project GROW: visualising nature at nanoscale, in collaboration with the ANU Department of Applied Mathematics. Her research explores the possibilities of visualising kinetic volumetric data through the science of microcomputed X-ray tomography, and her work is focused on capturing in 4D the process of germination of agricultural seeds from embryo to first leaf stage. Her primary interest in contemporary technologies is in the innovative processes for observing microscopic material, and how this increasing comparative scale continues to offer us a unique perspective from which to reflect as observers, creating new meanings for ourselves across time and circumstance. Her intention for this project is to allow an audience to experience seed propagation on a scale that is enlarged well beyond the proportions of the original, natural process. The premise of propagating crop seeds is to consider contemporary questions surrounding the comparative values between perceived natural and artificially cultivated food sources, particularly in the context of the current concerns regarding global food security and the sustainability of agriculture.