Experimenta Make Sense: International Triennial of Media Art

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Experimenta Make Sense – International Triennial of Media Art 2017 RMIT Gallery supplied image Andrew Styan 2017 Life Support System
Photograph: Supplied Andrew Styan 'Life Support System' (2017)

This festival explores the exhilarating and anxious experience of living in the digital age

This festival takes as its jumping-off point a quote by Pulitzer Prize-winning socio-biologist E.O. Wilson (On Human Nature): "the real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology."

Curated by Experimenta's artistic director Jonathan Parsons, the Triennial showcases artists and works that explore the challenge of being human in a world of technological hyper-development. 

Here are five works to look out for in Experimenta Make Sense:

Pull by Michele Barker and Anna Munster (AUS)

This audio-visual installation uses film, sound and GPS tracking data to put the audience inside the formation and breaking of a wave.

In My Shoes: Intimacy by Jane Gauntlett (UK)

Artist Jane Gauntlett has been exploring empathy and how to engender it in her ongoing project In My Shoes. This chapter, ‘Intimacy’, is a virtual reality experience for two people, in which you are invited to experience three different ‘encounters’ between two people, from the perspective of each person involved (i.e. six different perspectives all up).

The Institute of Isolation by Lucy McRae (UK)

In this short documentary-style film, science fiction artist and filmmaker Lucy McRae shows herself preparing her body and mind for interstellar life through several extreme experiences – including a micro-gravity trainer, and an anechoic (or sound-free) chamber. McRae worked with scientists to develop the project, seeking to explore the ways in which we might start preparing ourselves for life beyond Earth.

Catch Your Breath and Life Support System by Andrew Styan (AUS)

Emerging new media artist Andrew Styan is presenting two works in which he uses air to explore the human relationship to its external environment. In Catch Your Breath, he invites audience members to blow a bubble into a tank of water – which is then captured by high-speed photography. The resulting photographic works make concrete something that is generally conceived as ephemeral and insubstantial. The installation Life Support System uses three inflatable vessels to visualise Styan’s conception of how human, environmental and economic systems interrelate, incorporating a live feed of data from the Australian Stock Exchange to regulate the air pressure within one of the inflatables.

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