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Experimenta Make Sense: International Triennial of Media Art

Start Date

Apr 21, 2018 12:00 pm

End Date

May 27, 2018 5:00 pm

Experimenta Make Sense: International Triennial of Media Art

Opening event: Friday 20 April, 5:30 - 7pm

Gallery Hours: Wed - Mon 12pm - 5pm (during exhibitions)
Closed Tuesdays and Public holidays


Robert Andrew, Ella Barclay, Michele Barker and Anna Munster, Briony Barr,Steve Berrick, Antoinette J. Citizen, Adam Donovan and Katrin Hochschuh, Lauren Edmonds, Liz Magic Laser, Jon McCormack, Lucy McRae, Gail Priest, Matthew Gardiner, Jane Gauntlett, Scale Free Network: Briony Barr and Gregory Crocetti, Andrew Styan, Judy Watson and Katarina Zdjelar.

Matthew Gardiner, The Folded Geometry of the Universe (2016). Photo by Nicky Pastore © Experimenta Media Arts

Image credit: Matthew Gardiner, The Folded Geometry of the Universe (2016). Photo by Nicky Pastore © Experimenta Media Arts

Experimenta Makes Sense: International Triennial of Media Art expresses the disconcerting and delightful world of the digital age. Both playful and thought provoking, this exhibition asks audiences to immerse their senses into a ‘thinking’, ‘feeling’ and ‘doing’ contemplation of what it is to be human in an age of technological acceleration.

The exhibition investigates how artists ‘make sense’ of our world, and invites us to explore our understanding of the present. In a time of accelerating technological changes to our society and culture, Experimenta Make Sense investigates our extreme present. The term ‘extreme present’ was recently coined to capture the impact of accelerating technological change on society and culture: a time where it feels impossible to maintain pace with the present, let alone the future. A challenge for 21st century humanity is that “we have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and god-like technologies”, according to Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson. We humans still ‘make sense’ of our world through our physical selves and our cultures. The artworks exhibited in Experimenta Make Sense engage directly with this conundrum.

The key questions explored by the artists in Experimenta Make Sense include:

* How do we make sense of the world around us? As we grapple with the rapid pace of change shaped by technological transformation, political uncertainty and global challenges, we recognise that science and technology continue to provide tools for understanding our world. Complex systems theory and ever-larger big-data sets all promise to give us fresh insights into our present day. In Experimenta Make Sense you will find artworks that problematise this idea or embrace it, or in some cases create new theories or data sets.

* How can we use our senses to make sense? Throughout the exhibition you will also find many non-corporeal interfaces that mirror our lived experiences and beg the question: can our biological bodies and our sensorial systems keep up with it all?

* How do we make sense through making? In the face of these changes it is perhaps no accident that we have seen the rise of the maker movement, reflecting a human need to understand the world physically, beyond the screen. This trend is evidenced by a number of artworks that use hands-on participation in their realisation. The exhibition seeks to encourage wide engagement with this conversation by presenting work by Australian and international artists who use, critique and experiment with technology, media and art.

Briony Barr, Drawing on Complexity (The Experimenta Series) (2017). Photo by Theresa Harrison © the artist

Image credit: Briony Barr, Drawing on Complexity (The Experimenta Series) (2017).Photo by Theresa Harrison © the artist

About Experimenta Media Art

Experimenta is Australia’s leading organisation that commissions, promotes and expands the scope of media artwork presentation. These practices are at the nexus of art with digital media, science and technology, and design. We are an incubator for creativity and thought, where artists actively engage with contemporary culture.

Experimenta challenges convention, celebrates the maverick, educates and leads industry discussion, and encourages collaboration.

Established in 1986 by experimental film and video makers, Experimenta has been instrumental in the development of media art from an underground cultural phenomenon in the 1980s to exhibiting in major galleries, festivals and events. Melbourne based, with a national and global reach, for over 30 years Experimenta has sought out and nurtured experimental art practices by supporting Australian media artists. We engage, educate and grow audiences for media art, develop expertise in the presentation of media art and are strong advocates for the sector.

Since 2003 our signature program has been the Experimenta International Biennial of Media Art, resulting in a honed and well-managed touring model. We have presented six editions of the exhibition that has toured extensively across metropolitan and regional Australian, with 42 artists commissioned to produce new works. This exhibition is the only international biennial to tour nationally, presenting technology-driven art to diverse audiences across the country. In 2017 the Biennial will move to a Triennial cycle allowing Experimenta to invest more deeply in artist and creative development processes, tour to more galleries around Australia, and present projects outside of traditional gallery contexts while the exhibition is on tour. These programs range across site-specific interventions, performances, screenings and international exchanges supporting hundreds of Australian and international artists. Recent examples include the premier in 2015 of Matthew Sleeth’s performance work A Drone Opera at the Meat Market in partnership with Arts House. In 2016, Experimenta presented Michaela Gleave’s A Galaxy of Suns, an artwork app and associated performance that premiered at Dark Mofo in Hobart (June 2016), internationally at the Bristol Biennial (Sept 2016), and in regional Australia as part of the Cementa Contemporary Arts Festival (April 2017). Experimenta fosters critical discourse and support of Melbourne-based artists through its regular meetup series, Experimenta Social, supported by and presented at ACMI X.

Experimenta also commissions new artworks. This provides a significant opportunity for Australian artists to gain professional, creative and technical development, with the required financial support, to realise innovative works of art that engage and thrill the imaginations of our wide audiences.

About the Exhibition Curators


Jonathan Parsons has over twenty years of experience working in arts and culture in Australia and internationally. Concurrent with his role at Experimenta he is the Creative Director of Robotronica a biennial festival showcasing developments in robotics and interactive design held at QUT in Brisbane. He was the Director of ISEA2013 (International Symposium on Electronic Art) an international festival of art, technology and ideas in partnership with Vivid Sydney. Parsons has extensive arts administration and management experience working for a range of festivals, cultural institutions and performing arts companies. He has artistically led and collaborated on a broad range of cultural programs and events across all art forms including for: the State Library of Queensland, Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Riverfestival, Byron Bay Writers Festival, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival, Pacific Wave Festival, Adelaide Festival of the Arts, Awesome Festival and the London International Festival of Theatre.


Lubi Thomas is an experienced curator working in the field of digital/new media arts and associate practice areas. In the past decade, she has developed and delivered an extensive range of exhibitions, projects, festivals, events, residencies and mentoring programs, as well as, public and education focused programming. Site-responsiveness is a key element in her practice, producing works and cultural experiences for a variety of audiences. Lubi’s master’s Curating in Uncharted Territories proposes a methodology for cultural programing development and sustainability for sites engaged in the display of, and engagement with, experimental creative practice. Lubi has developed cultural programming frameworks for The Cube Brisbane, Creative Industries Precinct QUT, and Qld State Library. Lubi has brokered on-going relationships with LEGO Education, Ars Electronica, FACT Liverpool, and the Australia Council for the Arts. She works and consults locally, nationally and internationally. Current projects include: Experimenta Media Arts, Femel Fissions: Women, Art & Science, and ReForm - Brisbane Street Art Festival,UTV and the Digital Placemaking Institute.

Experimenta Make Sense presenting partner RMIT Gallery. Experimenta Make Sense is supported by Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne, ANAT, ias, Australia Council for the Arts, Sofitel, British Council, Visions of Australia, HAYMAN, VAULT, Australian Government. EXPERIMENTA GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGES THE SUPPORT OF DANIEL BESEN.