Farewell Experimenta – behind the scenes of the ‘bump out’


This week we bid farewell to Experimenta Recharge the media art exhibition that has attracted large crowds to its interactive exhibits since November, and delighted audiences on its final viewing at White Night Melbourne on Saturday 21 February.


What a contrast RMIT Gallery is on the first days after the exhibition has ended, and we de-install the artworks. The images of the bustling gallery full of people and artwork are already are fading into memory. The main photo (above, top) is what remains of Khaled Sabsabi’s work 70,000 Veils – a massive piece utilising television screens projecting images to be viewed through 3D glasses (above, with the audience, at RMIT Gallery’s White Night Melbourne event on 21 February).


The day after an exhibition ends it is always a surprise to walk into the main gallery and the magic has gone, and the space transformed. Where there were artworks and an audience, now it is just an empty space quickly filled with boxes, pieces of wood, material being recycled and everything packed up to be freighted to the next location. Above is the crowd arriving for White Night Melbourne and pouring through the gallery reception – below is the same view, two days later, filled with the massive stack of television monitor boxes that were used for Sabsabi’s work.


The two week period of ‘bumping out’ the current exhibition and ‘bumping in’ the new one, means that RMIT Gallery is transformed in that time to something of a building site, with teams of technicians working under the direction of RMIT Gallery registrar Peter Wilson, to take down the current exhibition,  and then prepare the walls and perhaps new partitions for the next exhibition layout.






Down comes Ei Wada’s Towering Records, the installation piece that transfixed audiences with its storytelling and visual magic.

Ei Wada (Japan)

Ei Wada (Japan)

Once all the artwork has been packed away to be freighted back to different locations, all that remains are holes on the walls to be painstakingly patched, and paint colors to be taken back to the blank canvas of the White Cube.  It takes a large team and an enormous amount of work to keep the gallery walls looking immaculate, ready for the presentation of the new exhibitions.Why do we go to this effort?


RMIT Gallery Director and Chief Curator Suzanne Davies said “we want to intensify people’s experience and we can do that by making sure that the environment supports a pleasurable visual experience for the viewer and reflects the respect with which we hold for the artwork and the artist’s vision.”


In the next few blogs, we will explore the installation of our three new upcoming exhibitions, and behind the scenes details of the genesis of their ideas and curatorial rationale. These exhibitions are:

RMIT Gallery India Exhibition Consultant Helen Rayment's behind the scenes images in India of 'Unfolding: New Indian Textiles'.

RMIT Gallery India Exhibition Consultant Helen Rayment’s behind the scenes images in India of ‘Unfolding: New Indian Textiles’.

Unfolding: New Indian Textiles

20 March – 30 May 2015

Contemporary Indian textile designers and artists examine the reinvention of traditional textiles within the wider context of international art and fashion.

Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla

20 March – 30 May 2015

Japanese artists respond to the events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 and its environmental implications.

Backs of Banaras

20 March – 30 May 2015

Photographer Terry Burrows visual essay in the textiles of the everyday that conveys much of the cultural wealth and contradiction that is contemporary India.






7 am: Reflections of White Night Melbourne @ RMIT Gallery

korinsky relax


It’s nearly 7 am and in the minutes of White Night Melbourne and RMIT Gallery’s Experimenta Recharge, we reflect on the audience and their engagement with the media art exhibition during this cultural night of illumination and celebration in the Melbourne CBD.

Our enthusiastic team of six gallery volunteers who worked the 7 pm to 7 am shift were all eager to have “Korinsky time” before the exhibition ended and Experimenta Recharge left RMIT Gallery for its two year tour…this means lying on the floor of the sound art installation (in its own separate gallery room) and immersing yourself in the implications of hearing sounds from the past and placing yourself in a situation where perceptions of time, space and place might be disrupted.

korinsky relax 2

“RL2000 2014”, by German group Korinsky, is a sound and mixed media installation imagines that sound never fully disappears and is present in our universe forever. What would it sound like to hear all the sounds of the past and present? How would it change our perceptions of time and death?

korinsky instagram

Sound artist collective Korinsky’s installation inspired by the recent announcement by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre that they had documented sound waves from the Big Bang soon after the birth of our universe.

main gallery 3.30 am


In the main gallery, our volunteers spent the evening patiently explaining the intriguing artwork by Brisbane based bio artist Svenja Kratz called “The Contamination of Alice: Instance #8”. The work, on a raised white plinth, is part of an ongoing investigation begun in 2008 that has produced a series of installations collectively titled: The Absence of Alice.

Under the glow of a fragmented projection, a lifelike face with disturbingly blinking eyes appears over a an inert mask. A dome above contains a decaying, contaminated jelly like version of the mask. The series explores biotechnologies, specifically Saos-2, a cell line isolated from the bone cancer lesion of an 11-year-old girl, Alice, in 1973.

The artist says the following about this series:

“Since the establishment of the Saos-2 cell line, Alice’s cells are routinely in research
laboratories throughout the world. As such, even though Alice is most likely long
deceased, due to the virulent nature of her cancer, the overall biomass of the
remaining cells now most likely far outweighs the mass of her body when she was

Our volunteers agreed – once everyone understood the story behind “The Contamination of Alice” they were really intrigued.

queue 3.30 am

The long queues waited patiently until at least 5 am for the work “A series of small wire objects (many of them uninteresting): Object 2”. This work, which only allows two people to view it behind the black curtain at a time, contains a series of small wire objects (actually, twisted paperclips) and is concerned with extending sound art composition into visual form through the use of an ordinary
sculptural object as a means of focusing audience attention.

The artists RMIT lecturer Darrin Verhagen, Stuart McFarlane and Toby Brodel explore how the simplest of objects may be transformed into something startling and mesmerising through the simultaneous use of sound, light and colour.

wada backs


A real crowd pleaser was Japanese artist and musician Ei Wada’s work Falling Records. Our volunteer’s agreed – “everyone was ‘oohing and aahing’ over Falling Records‘” which is presented as a performance work. The tape in the soaring plinths slowly winds down, then the mechanism stops, and then jumps into reverse, to the sound of strange music…

Ei Wada explains in his wall text:

This is one of the works that I have created based on my notion of Electronicostic
Imagination. Electronicos is a word I have coined which means something old has
been transformed from its original use into a new contemporary paradigm.
The idea was inspired by an incident in which I observed a tape dropping and piling up
on a floor.

In future, inhabitants of some unknown culture and who have never seen a tape
recorder may uncover this machine with one broken reel and try to play the tape

And because of their fascination with the phenomenon of music visually piling-up, they
might build a huge tower of Electronicos in some public space. In the evening, they will
look at the tower, the magnetic materials falling, the rotational movement, the
rewinding. And, over time, the sounds and vision will be indelibly inscribed in their


No one will quickly forget Brazilian artist Anasia Franco’s three works in the exhibition – especially the so called ‘screaming teeth’ – or the work ‘Paranoia’. And that includes not just the fanciful fairy who wandered in after midnight, but also the poor baby who leaned in to the interactive work from the safety of his father’s arms, only to get the fright of his life when the teeth screamed at him.

“That poor baby! His screams were louder than the teeth,” one volunteer recalled.

In contrast, Anasia Franco’s other interactive work, “Emanating Happiness” did just that – when anyone stood on the pod, they laughed, giggled, and playfully interacted with the floor based work. It was a joy, and aptly named.

happiness kids

With every interactive exhibition, and especially for an event as big as White Night, there is the temptation to take home a little of the experience…and so we found that the 3D glasses used in Khaled Sabsabi’s massive work 70,000 Veils, which originates from the Prophet Mohammed’s teaching
that ‘there are 70 000 veils of light and darkness separating the individual from the divine, went ‘walkabout’.


In 70,000 Veils, Sabsabi explores the depths of this teaching, exploiting the infinite possibilities of digital image rendering and media technology to contemplate its spiritual essence and application within a lived reality. Each of the 100 monitors in this installation plays an individual file of 700 photographs composited over the top of each other. Each file plays for 700 seconds each before repeating, producing a random installation of 70 000 images.

The images are photographs of the everyday taken over the last 10 years of the artist’s career and include architectural features, streetscapes, and photos of media propaganda taken during his travels to the Middle East. All the better viewed with 3D glasses….




RMIT Gallery delights at White Night Melbourne

crowds A steady stream of enthusiastic art lovers flocked to RMIT Gallery for the last night of Experimenta Recharge – an interactive exhibition of media art. To the hum of the music around the nearby State Library,  patrons played with the art works, delighting especially in Brazilian artist Anasia’s Franco’s “Emanating Happiness”. white night happiness Anaisa Franco works with robotics and low-fi electronics to produce interactive sculptures and installation that connect mechanical processes with the subconscious human mind.   “Emanating Happiness” was developed during an artist in residence program at Creative and Cognition Studios, University of Technology, Sydney as part of the EMARE AUS CDN Move On Exchange (European media artists in residence in exchange with Australia and Canada). This program is supported by the Culture 2013 Programme of the European Commission and the Goethe Institute. teeth Inspired by psychology, dreams and the possibilities inherent in DIY electrical engineering, Franco animates objects – such as her reactive shattering mirror “Frustration” (below) with behaviours and feelings to blur the boundaries between body, mind and machine.

franco mirror crowd

Franco’s work “Paranoia” 2010, a reactive sculpture, had audiences reaching for their phones to record the false teeth screaming and laughing. Instant replays were viewed as people left the gallery – a lingering memento of Experimenta Recharge ready for replay at any time.


The performance piece “Toki Ori Ori Nasu: Falling Records 2013” featuring reel to reel tape decks, pedestals and sound by Japanese artist and musician Ei Wada attracted a large audience, keen to see his speculative work in action. Ei Wada was inspired by an incident in which he observed a tape dropping and piling up on a floor – and he imagined a future in which inhabitants of some unknown culture and who have never seen a tape recorder may uncover this machine with one broken reel and try to play the tape back…… Wn darrin The collective work by Darrin Verhagen, Stuart McFarlane, and Toby Brodel only allows one person at a time in the blacked out sound booth – but a patient audience queued for to watch – and listen – to the work “A series of small wire objects (many of them uninteresting)”. The piece is  is concerned with extending sound art composition into visual form through the use of an ordinary sculptural object as a means of focusing audience attention. The artists explore how the simplest of objects may be transformed into something startling and mesmerising through the simultaneous use of sound, light and colour.

RMIT Gallery open for White Night Melbourne


White Night returns this Saturday February 21 with an expanded footprint, great new sites and returning favourites. And RMIT Gallery will be open from 7 pm to 7 am.

Come and join us for the last night of the interactive media art exhibition Experimenta Recharge.

The exhibition presents a collection of over 18 works from Australian and international artists, who question how technology and cultural contexts create new perspectives on knowledge.

White Night, now in its third year, is inspired by the international Nuit Blanche movement that began in Paris, France.

It provides an all-night, free cultural event with visual art, illuminations, music, food, theatre, sport, fashion, film, design and performances on display in the city.

Public transport will be running regularly right throughout the night, and the message from organisers is to arrive after midnight to beat the crowds.

Title: White Night at RMIT Gallery
Date: Saturday 21 February
Time: 7pm to 7am
Venue: RMIT Gallery Building 16, City campus
Cost: Free


IMG_5950Leisa Shelton will be performing Mapping Australian Media Art at RMIT Gallery time on Saturday 21 February from 1-4pm.

In this participatory project, Leisa will sit at a table in the gallery inviting individuals to join her in a conversation about significant encounters they have had with media art in Australia – to name the
artists that have made an impression on them and marked us as a culture.

Come along and share your stories with Leisa.


We will be sealing the archive box and marking the end of Mapping Australian Media Art at RMIT Gallery from 4-5 pm with a small celebration following, hosted by Leisa Shelton and Elise Routledge, program manager, Experimenta.

Date: Saturday 21 February

Time: 1-4pm, followed by a small celebration 4-5 pm for sealing the archive box.

Venue: RMIT Gallery 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Cost: Free

Seeing red at White Night

RMIT’s Alumni Courtyard will be a part of the popular White Night festival on Saturday from 7pm and 7am.

The newly-revamped Alumni Courtyard Food Market will be glowing red, referencing the Seven Deadly Sins theme in the adjoining Melbourne Gaol, and market traders will be open all night offering festival-goers an ambient space to rest and revive.

Summer at RMIT Gallery


Svenja Kratz,The Contamination of Alice: Instance #8  2014, plaster, glass, steel, MDF, diffused LED lighting, Raspberry Pi micro computer, Agar-agar, nutrients, Saos-2 cells DNA, perspex, sand, mini projector, video
Photography: Mark Ashkanasy, Courtesy RMIT Gallery


RMIT Gallery hopes you all had a relaxing Christmas and summer break. Mid January is traditionally a time workers head back to the office and carers look around for city based activities to entertain the children.

If you didn’t get a chance to visit our summer exhibition Experimenta Recharge over the Christmas and New Year period, now is the perfect time to do so.

Bring the family in for some school holiday fun and remember, when the days are hot, the air conditioned comfort of the gallery is the perfect place to have some time  out – and time to play with the media art works.

As well as our regular opening hours, RMIT Gallery is open to 7 pm every Wednesday night during the exhibition, and from 12 noon to 5 pm on Saturdays.

Our new Experimenta Recharge  video has just been launched – watch it here:


Meet the Artists: Experimenta Recharge Free Public Programs

Japanese artist Ei Wada at RMIT Gallery installing his work Falling Records

Japanese artist Ei Wada at RMIT Gallery installing his work Falling Records. Photo Helen Rayment.

Experimenta Recharge’s public program is your chance to meet the artists and curators behind the 6th International Biennial of Media Art and delve into the ideas behind this exhibition. We have selected artists from the exhibition to come together on a range of key thematic topics to discuss the role artists play in creatively investigating the possibilities and pushing the limits of contemporary technologies. Join us to see how artworks help us to imaginatively experience and critically reflect on the role technologies play in the transformation of art, culture and knowledge.


Friday 28 November 

Event: Curator’s Tour and meet the artists.

Time: 12.30am – 2pm

Venue: RMIT Gallery

Christy Dena's Magister Ludi

Christy Dena’s Magister Ludi

Join Jonathan Parsons, Artistic Director, Experimenta & Curator of Recharge, as he guides you through Experimenta Recharge: 6th International Biennial of Media Art and delves into the ideas behind development of the exhibition theme, selection of works and introduces you to some of the artists behind the works. He will be joined by Recharge artists Raymond Zada and Christy Dena, who will discuss their work.

Christy Dena has written and produced artworks as games in her New Work Commission for Experimenta; Magister Ludi playfully investigates the recent cultural phenomena of both computer and live ‘escape room’ puzzles through an interactive game installed in a vintage school desk. Raymond Zada’s ‘Acknowledged’ examines the historical processes of erasing memory in the urban landscape of his home-town of Adelaide.

Friday 28 November 

Event: Book launch – Matthew Perkins (ed), Video Void: Australian Video Art, Australian Scholarly Publishers, 2014.

Time: 5-6 pm

Venue: RMIT Gallery


Join book editor Matthew Perkins and contributors in celebrating the launch of this fascinating book which will be launched as part of Experimenta’s 6th International Biennial of Media Art.

Video is one of the most visible contemporary art mediums of our time. Since the 1960s Australian artists such as David Perry, Peter Kennedy, Mike Parr, Jill Scott, Gary Willis, Stephen Jones, Bonita Ely and Lyndal Jones, to name a few, have paved the way for a new generation of artists who have taken up video as a creative medium. But anyone who wants to explore Australian video art faces the difficulty of accessing information about these works and tracing the histories that connect them. Video Void: Australian Video Art offers an in depth study of video art in Australia from the 1960s into a new millennium considering the next generation of artists such as Shaun Gladwell, David Rosetzky, Monika Tichacek, Daniel von Sturmer, Catherine Bell and Angelica Mesiti. With contributors John Conomos, Matthew Perkins, Stephen Jones, Jacqueline Millner, Darren Tofts, Daniel Palmer and Anne Marsh.

Friday 28 November 


With guest speakers: Justine Hyde – Director Library Services and Experience – State Library of Victoria, Danny van der Kleij – La Société Anonyme, in conversation with Simon Abrahams – Freelance creative producer

Venue: RMIT Kaleide Theatre, Building 8, 360 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Feature length Documentary Film, 90 minutes (2013)

Time: 6-8pm

GOOGLE AND THE WORLD BRAIN, directed by Ben Lewis, radically questions the nature of the Internet by looking at the story of Google Books. Google Books, Google’s unprecedented project to scan all books thus realising mankind’s ancient dream of a universal library was stopped in an American court after an international campaign. The futuristic world of the Net meets the traditional culture of the library through interviews with the world’s leading Internet thinkers and librarian-scholars. The film uses Google Books as a prism through which issues of data-mining, copyright, freedom and surveillance are illuminated.

Saturday 29 November

Artist Talk: Ei Wada on his work Falling Records

Time: 1-1.30pm

Venue:  Gallery 3, RMIT Gallery

Japanese musician and artist Ei Wada uses a combination of old electric and acoustic instruments to create multi-channel performance arrangements. His work Falling Records is a poetic sound installation that imagines a future civilisation’s misinterpretation of a common 20th century artefact – analogue tape recordings. His work alerts us to the potential pitfalls when we attempt to capture and catalogue knowledge from the past. 

Saturday 29 November

Experimenta Recharge Opening Weekend Media Art Seminar

Venue:  RMIT University, Building 16, Level 7, Green Brain, 342 – 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Event one: 1.30 – 2.30 pm Echoes from the past Chair – Professor Darren Tofts, Media and Communications, Swinburne University. Panel: Svenja Kratz, Khaled Sabsabi, Abel Korinsky.

Event Two: 2.30 – 3.30pm Digital Age Archive Makers – Chair – Senior Curator Geraldine Barlow, Monash University Museum of Art. Panel: Leisa Shelton, Danny van der Kleij, Emma Ramsay.

Event three: 3.30-4.00 pm Embodied Knowledge – Anaisa Franco in conversation with Lisa Gye, Senior Lecturer – Media and Communications, Swinburne University.

(due to unforeseen circumstances Garry Stewart and Maree Clarke are unable to attend this session as previously advertised)

Join us for one, two or all three panel discussions located at the RMIT Green Brain seminar room next to RMIT Gallery. The panels are designed to run for 30-50 minutes each, with time allowed for questions and a five minute break between sessions.

Event details


Image: "70,000 Veils" by Khaled Sabsabi

Image: “70,000 Veils” by Khaled Sabsabi

Event one: Echoes from the past:  Panel: Svenja Kratz, Khaled Sabsabi, Abel Korinsky

This panel shows how the use of contemporary technologies can transform our view and understanding of the world. In The Contamination of Alice: Instance #8 Svenja Kratz comments on the transformative capabilities of Alice’s cells, an 11 year old girl who died of cancer in 1971 and whose cells, donated to science, have since proliferated in science laboratories across the globe. Khaled Sabsabi transgressive practice immerses us in a plethora of visual material, the physical evidence of his memory, with his 100 screens in his work 70,000 veils. While Korinsky’s Big Bang speculates on the new possibilities now that scientists having found remnant sounds originating in the birth of the universe.

La Societe Anonyme, The SKOR Codex

La Societe Anonyme, The SKOR Codex

Event two: Digital Age Archive Makers: Panel: Leisa Shelton, Danny van der Kleij, Emma Ramsay

This panel examines the way that history can disappear and reappear and the role that artists can play in countering cultural and historical amnesia. All of the artists on this panel have considered the role of archiving in the digital age. Leisa Shelton’s Mapping our Media Art is collecting stories from audiences of their seminal memories of media art experiences. Danny van der Kleiji speaks to the challenge of how to document the stories of one of the Netherlands dynamic arts organisations closed due to recent government funding cuts. Emma Ramsay worked with curator Alex White to create Tele Visions Afterlude so that Biennial audiences can surf with a remote control to access many of the live performance works and other works created for a TV broadcast from Carriageworks in Sydney to mark the end of analogue TV in Australia in 2013.

Donation of Skor Codex to State Library of Victoria

Paranoia by Anaisa Franco

Paranoia by Anaisa Franco

Event three: Embodied Knowledge Panel: Garry Stewart, Anaisa Franco, Maree Clarke

In this panel each artist explores the role of the body as a holder of knowledge and memory. Choreographer Garry Stewart in his collaborative film project Collision Course reveals the subtle differences of dancers and sports-peoples differing training through the use of slow motion film. Anaisa Franco in her Psychosomatic series creates interactive sculptures representing and eliciting from audiences different human emotions. Maree Clarke in Born of the land speaks about how the body holds knowledge through ritual.

Thursday 27 November to Saturday 29 November

Mapping Our Media Art: Leisa Shelton

Venue: RMIT Gallery


27/11/14 – 6-8 pm

28/11/14 – 12-3 pm

29/11/14 – 12-2 pm, 4-5 pm

What would a map of Australian media art look like? Leisa Shelton invites audiences to share their stories at RMIT Gallery in this audience inclusive artwork.

Leisa Shelton invites audiences to share their stories at RMIT Gallery 

What would a map of Australian media art look like? Leisa Shelton invites audiences to share their stories in this audience inclusive artwork at RMIT Gallery. Leisa is a performance artist, maker and curator whose practice foregrounds collaboration and advocacy for new Australian transdisciplinary work. Her practice concentrates on the development of new frames for the presentation of performance. Leisa is also dedicated to delivering greater environmental sustainability within the arts and performance sectors.