beautiful desolation

13:40 3 February 2010

“Gondwana” is a galaxy of the imagination created using astronomical visualisations from the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Mt Stromlo, Canberra.  It is a playful riff on astronomical data, scientific research, cosmology and allegorical discourses.

Realised in a games engine by James Hudson of Nocturnal, with an immersive interactive interface using handheld navigation and augmented reality ‘heads up’ display.

Astronomical visualisations are combined in aesthetic, striking and original ways. The galaxy is complete with fictional constellations imagined for the southern skies. My aim is to explore the premise that the universe is complex and ecological in the sense of a generative system – it is outcome and process. The universe is not just an engineering equation but is informed by creative intelligence, ordering principles, patterns, significance and aesthetics. Does it posses a kind of intelligence with aesthetic qualities as well as mathematical ones? What can folk sciences and naive ontologies offer current astrophysical problems? How can we come to terms with a universe that is expanding and accelerating, from each point in it? I am working experimentally with astronomical visualisations (3d), scientific language, cosmology (current theoretical dilemmas of mythical proportions) and folk sciences (Aboriginal and classical), to explore the gaps and connections between science and spirituality, fact and speculation. Exhibited at DreamWorlds – Australian Moving Image in Beijing and regional China 2010.

Developed during a residency at the Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics, ANU with help from Professor Brian Schmidt and James Hudson from Nocturnal.

Mr Dawes Pronounces Well

12:28 3 February 2010

Development stage of a multi-disciplinary performance work based on the notebooks of First Fleet marine/astronomer/surveyor William Dawes who recorded his encounters between 1788-1790 with the indigenous peoples of the Sydney foreshore area most notably young Cadigal woman, Patyegarang.

The investigation of the historical source material is not an end in itself, and we are not looking to dramatize history by ‘mimicking’ the encounter between Dawes and Pateygarang. The historical documents are a provocation to stimulate investigation and debate between the artists (and the audience).

The live action process will involve the opening up of the primary source notebook text through the actor’s physiology of movement, voice, physical and emotional inter-relationships with Dawes text (words, correction marks, and spaces/silences between the words) and each other. Other source material will be diaries and letters that refer to Dawes and Pateygarang (i.e., Elizabeth Macarthur’s letters & journals). The secondary source material will be current writings and interpretations of their encounter (i.e. Inga Clendinnen’s Dancing With Strangers). The other source text will be what the artists bring of themselves to the work, personal text, cultural stories, constellation and creation myths  and their ‘speakings back’ to Dawes and Pateygarang from varying viewpoints. We aim to devise a chorus ensemble of indigenous performers to counterpoint the dual Dawes – Patyegarang  protagonist/s structure.

Stage 1 development took place at Bundanon Artists Retreat, NSW in Winter 2009. Stage 2 took place at Critical Path Sydney in January 2011.

The Uncertainty Principle v 2 – ‘wake’

10:02 3 February 2010

Based on the early 20Cth physics axiom by Heisenberg, wake is the 2nd iteration of Richards’ project The Uncertainty Principle. A first version of wake was exhibited at ‘Outside Isea’ in Belfast in 2009, in a shipping container.

All ports have an isomorphic relationship to each other – they are connected by the flows of people, goods, stories and songs. These geopolitical links create a worldwide network that transverses oceans, continents and hemispheres. Every port attains the universal feel of an inter-zone, a liminal interface of comings and goings, yet still retains its own character.

In wake visitors enter the shipping container and see footage of world famous ports – Belfast, Singapore, Montreal, Sydney, New York, Vancouver, Bangkok and Barcelona. Shot by the artist from boats and ships, these miniature viewpoints create an affective connection with the network of ports round the world. The shipping container is a metaphor for all the people, goods and stories that have crossed the seas over the years.

Foul Whisperings, Strange Matters

10:18 29 March 2009

FOUL WHISPERINGS, STRANGE MATTERS brings Shakespeare’s world renowned and extraordinarily influential play Macbeth into a virtual worlds environment. This is an appropriate, timely use of pop culture as an adaptive bridge between classic texts and new media technology. The poetic use of metaphor, image and symbol that permeate Shakespeare’s language can be brought to 3D life using the online world as a discursive design space where visitors experience the motivations and emotional journey of character, and explore and make personal sense of the universal themes of Shakespeare. In Foul Whisperings, Strange Matters a prelude at the arrival grove sets the tone for the visitors’ exploration of seven scenes depicting Macbeth’s journey. Visitors engage with the participatory potential of Second Life to remake, co-create and mash-up Shakespeare. Foul Whisperings, Strange Matters’ inworld roleplay studios enable visitors to take part in group play and workshops that are exploratory, spontaneous and performative. A virtual world is a flexible, living, real time environment where things can change, appear and disappear and visitors can interact with real agency. Foul Whisperings is a fabulous cutting edge example of the potential of online media to breath life into old texts, taking classic narratives to new realms of possibility with diverse, unexpected and educational outcomes – off the page onto the virtual stage! DOWNLOAD A PDF ABOUT THE PROJECT

Crying Man 4

16:42 2 February 2008

Crying Man 4 was a collaboration with Melbourne artist Lyndal Jones, and an extension of Lyndal’s Crying Man series. Installed at Artspace Sydney, Crying Man 4 was developed during a residency at the Artspace studios.Media: 3 channels of video; sync sound; flown double sided screens

The Uncertainty Principle

16:23 2 February 2008

This solo photographic show at Australian Centre for Photography explores the metaphysical conundrum of ‘nature’ in a post nature age. Examining our sifting relationships to the natural world, The Uncertainty Principle references Heisenberg’s early 20Cth axiom in a meditation on movement, perception and the annihilation of time and space in our current technological age. The photos are semi transparent when seen front on and opaque when viewed from the side, creating an affect that embodies the theme. Media: digital photographs on voile; wall painting.


11:21 2 February 2008

sub_scape is a real-time generative system for manipulating data streams. The system samples, folds and re maps one data set onto another. The data sets comprise numerical data, and data streams of video and audio. Using elegant rules, sub_scape generates poetic ecologies of sound and image. What emerge from the system are aesthetic complexes and evolving patterns, along with anomalies, turbulence and recursive effects. The system exhibits confluence, paradox, metaphor and commentary, arising from the intriguing combinations of source data and formal strategies. sub_scape is housed in a periscope object for single visitor use. The periscope has an in-built screen. The visitor sits to view the display. By turning the periscope horizontally, the visitor changes the data flows and effects. There have been 3 iterations of sub_scape – sub_scapeBALTIC at ISEA2004 Helsinki; sub_scapePROOF at Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) 2005 for PROOF: the act of seeing with one’s own eyes; and sub_scapeMACHINIMA.  Media: subscape software; video/audio feed; real time effects; aluminium periscope with audience interactivity.  DOWNLOADsub_scape.pdf 

Life After Wartime

19:44 22 December 2007

Life After Wartime is a suite of multimedia artworks by Kate Richards and Ross Gibson. Based on 3000 archival scene-of-crime images from Sydney and thousands of evocative texts by Gibson, each iteration within the suite uses various design and interaction techniques to engage its audience.The suite comprises: Crime Scene – 1999-2000 – Justice & Police Museum Sydney and touring; Darkness Loiters – 2000 – an interactive story engine; Life After Wartime CD-ROM – 2003 – exhibited nationally and internationally, for sale through the artists, funded by the Australian Film Commission. Life After Wartime live with The Necks – Adelaide Fringe Festival 2001 and Sydney Opera House 2003 – a live improvised event with world renowned jazz trio The Necks; Street XRays – 2005 – Gibson’s re-photography installation at ACMI. Bystander – 2007 – a 5 channel interactive and immersive video installation at The Performance Space@CarriageWorks Sydney 2007. For more information on the projects DOWNLOADarticle.pdf


19:42 22 December 2007

Part of the Life After Wartime suite, Bystander is a 5-channel interactive software system. The work is installed in a 7-metre-wide pentagonal frame comprised of five projection-screens and surround sound audio which visitors enter – up to 10 at once. All round them, a spirit-world of images, texts and sound gets composed in response to their movement, mass and attentiveness. The room is a kind of performative story-generator haunted by Sydney’s recent past. Depending on the behaviour of visitors, a variable and volatile world of audiovisual narrative evolves endlessly but cogently. Bystander exhibits emergent behaviours – complex narrative, aesthetic and semantic patterns emerge out of simple, elegant rules and interface.

DOWNLOAD bystander.pdf