MEDA301 Media Arts Workshop

Week 3: Contemporary Media Arts



Documenting your research, experimentation, and trials. Record your findings in a minimum of one entry (300 – 500 words, including references) per week as follows:

Week 1 Define your practice and your field

Week 2 Research your field – provide a brief overview of the history and theory that define your field and inform your practice; research a practitioner in your field

Week 3 Research opportunities – what are the opportunities available to you in your field? How can you make your own opportunities? (Workshop & Seminar)

Week 4 Research working processes and forms that interest you – you can choose artists, designers or creative practitioners or their works to discuss

Week 5 Project proposal– a draft proposal of a project with the ideas you will be investigating, present the relevant background to your proposed project



Activity: topos/tropos

Last week we introduced the creative practice research framework that I used for my PhD project – Provenance.


Personal         What right do you have to tell the story? Pedigree? Intentions?
Intellectual     What ideas are you engaging with? i.e. theories and concepts
Creative         What influences your creative production? i.e. artistic traditions
Political          What are the historical and social contexts of the research? i.e. governing ideologies
Material         What is the physical dimension to the research? i.e. production technology and artefact

This week I would like you to try to apply that framework through a hypothetical collaborative research project. In week 1 we developed projects based on a medium, this week we will develop projects based on place – Puckey’s Estate.



Puckey's Estate

Part 1. (8:30am-9:00am)
In groups of 4 or 5, discuss a collaborative project proposal in response to this location.

Make sure each of you are able to contribute to the creative development of the project.

Map out Personal, Intellectual, Creative, Political, and Material possibilities. For example

Personal:         reflect on personal experiences of the place, how do you relate to the location
Intellectual:     consider postcolonial theories, conservation theories, history etc.
Creative:          discuss aesthetic opportunities and inspiration
Political:          indigenous histories, conservation,
Material:         discuss material opportunities and the application of different mediums


Part 2. (9:00am-10:00am)
Discuss research strategies for each of these dimensions. For example

Personal:         go experience the site, ask friends and family about the place
Intellectual:     primary and secondary sources, experts, library, key themes
Creative:          existing artwork on a related theme, existing artworks in same medium (contextualise the work)
Political:          interviews, newspaper articles, internet searches
Material:         discuss material opportunities and the application of different mediums

As a group, go and experience the site before discussing strategies any further.


Part 3. (10:00am - 11:00am)
Using original images/audio present a draft project proposal to the class i.e. take a camera/audio recorder with you. The proposal should include:

  1. Working title
  2. Statement of topic/question - rationale and aims (identify key points in provenance)
  3. Key themes
  4. Research strategies (literature / method) such as specific artists/theorists, material experiments, etc.
  5. Timeline





Week 4.

Biennale of Sydney excursion - meet at Circular Quay Wharf 5 for 10:37am F3 ferry to Cockatoo Island ($6 - OPAL CARD)

Travelling from North Wollongong - catch 8:39am train to Central, change to platform 17 / 20 / 21 for city loop to Circular Quay

Contact: Aaron 0418652672

Note: we won't wait, if you're late or miss a connection get the next one and let us know when you arrive.






Modes of Production Part 1: The Artist

The Modes of Production seminar series aims to both theoretical and practical trends in contemporary media arts practices. The discussion intends to compare and contrast the nature of creative production between (i) the single artistic author, (ii) collaborative or team based practices, and lastly (iii) organizational and institutional modes of production.


The Artist

What might theorizing the ‘artist’ involve?

It was my practice to be at my table every morning at 5:30am; and it was also my practice to allow myself no mercy. An old groom, whose business it was to call me, and to whom I paid £5 a year extra for the duty, allowed himself no mercy. During all those years at Waltham Cross he was never late with the coffee which it was his duty to bring me. I do not know that I ought not to feel that I owe more to him than to any one else for the success I have had. By beginning at that hour I could complete my literary work before I dressed for breakfast.
- Anthony Trollope, 1883

Howard S. Becker Art Worlds (1982) - art as a collective activity: skilled artists, art schools with teachers and materials, a heritage, galleries, devoted patrons, obscure catalogue essays, walls, frames, picture hooks


What art has…


Not what art is…





Australia Council Report (2017) – how much Australian artists earn and how they earn a living


“The fundamental processes of creativity, the pursuit of an artistic vision and the passionate commitment to art that characterises art professionals—these things remain at the  heart of what it is to be a practising artist. For many artists the real challenge is to keep hold of these core values in such a rapidly changing environment.”


Making Art Work: A summary and response by the Australia Council for the Arts 

Can artists earn a living from creative work?
It is increasingly difficult for artists to make a living from their creative work, which is at odds with the increasing personal value Australians place on the arts, and the significant economic, social and cultural impact they have on our communities. Average total incomes for artists remain 21% below the Australian workforce average, and income from creative work has decreased by 19% over the last seven years. Disparities also remain between different groups of artists. Almost eight in ten artists mix their creative practice with other work, in arts-related roles and outside the arts.
Some of this involves applying creative skills in other industries, which presents opportunities for arts practice to take new and varied forms.

How are artists’ skills and capabilities aligned with future workforce needs?
Artists’ skills and capabilities are considered to be among those least likely to be automated and increasingly sought in the workforces of the future. It is predicted that time spent engaging with people, solving strategic problems and thinking creatively will increase for all jobs. Accelerated change is likely to prioritise transferable skills, diverse perspectives, and lifelong learning for adapting skills and building new capabilities - all embodied in artists’ working lives and professional practice. Expanding opportunities to create art in new ways and industries, and apply artistic skills outside the arts, could prompt a revaluing of the crucial role of artists as professionals, and recognition of the immense growth potential of the arts more broadly.





What is the artist's role or purpose in our society?


What are the optimum social conditions for fulfilling that role?



What is ‘The Artist’ as a creative mode of production?





The artist in history...


creative genius, master of craft, cultural critic, philosopher, celebrity


The artist as an individual...


subjectivity, liberalism, existentialism, phenomenological, expression, “a unique vision”


The artist in their practice...


control, direction, clarity



Andreas Gursky


Andreas Gursky (b. 1955)
Untitled V
signed, titled and dated 'O.T. V '97 A. Gursky' (on the reverse)
chromogenic colour-print face-mounted to Plexiglas in artist's frame
image: 55¾ x 157½in. (141.5 x 400cm.)
overall: 73 x 174 3/8in. (185.5 x 443cm.)
Executed in 1997, this work is number two from an edition of six


Andreas Gursky (b. 1955)
Rhine II
chromogenic colour-print mounted to acrylic glass
image: 73 x 143in. (190 x 360cm)


In 2011, a Rhine II print was auctioned for USD$4.3 million (then £2.7m), making it the most expensive photograph ever sold.




art object, fine art tradition, largest photographic print possible, catalogues, art sales


advertising, fine art, photography, Becher objectivity / typographies, “when reality corresponds with the composition of a painting”


globalisation, objectivity, simulacra


Becher School, objectivity, typography, art history, photography, globalisation


son and grandson of commercial photographers, art school, university professor


Ben Lewis – Gursky World


Lynette Wallworth (& auteur theory?)


Collisions (2016) - "virtual reality" 360˚ film


Collisions (2016), the first in a series of mixed-reality works, was awarded a 2017 News and Documentary Emmy award for Outstanding New Approaches in Documentary Film. Collisions tells the story of Nyarri Morgan— whose first contact with Western culture came in the 1950s via a dramatic collision between his traditional world view and the cutting edge of Western science and technology, when he witnessed first hand and with no context, an atomic test. The story  —  seen in the context of the Martu people’s careful stewardship of their land over hundreds of generations — provokes profound responses about technology, sustainability and the unintended consequences of our actions. Collisions premiered simultaneously at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in what was the world’s first large-scale synchronized screening of VR, and at the first theatrical screening of a VR work in the Egyptian theater at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. In 2016, Collisions was the first ever screening of a VR work at the Museum of Modern Art. Collisions has gone on to play in festivals around the world, including Tribeca, London, San Francisco, and Sheffield.

The film was developed when Wallworth was selected as the inaugural artist of the Sundance Institute New Frontier | Jaunt VR Residency Program. Collisions is a breakthrough production in immersive virtual reality cinema, filmed on Jaunt VR’s state of the art 3-D 360 camera and the first to be mixed at Skywalker Sound in Dolby Atmos - code was written specifically to achieve the needs of the production.


Tender (2014)


Coral: Rekindling Venus (2012)


Evolution of Fearlessness (2011)





Showreel / Portfolios / Exhibition

UOW graduating exhibition!


Gallery Representation / Agent
Media Arts: Sullivan + Strumpf, Anna Schwartz, Milani Gallery, Roslyn Oxley9 gallery, Michael Reid Gallery

Art Galleries Association of Australia



Joan Ross
The Claiming of Things [Video], 2012
single channel HD video animation
7 min 36 secs
edition of 10 + 2AP
view video on Art Tube
animator: Ben Butler, Sound: Josh Raymond



Mentorship / industry placement


Self-Employment / Freelance
Self-employment—New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS)


Grants & Funding
Samstag Scholarship
Australian Council for the Arts
Screen Australia
Ian Potter Foundation


Prizes & Festivals
Sydney Film Festival
Head On Photo Awards
Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize


Crowd Funding / Social Media
Patreon - /

#hashtag -

How to become a social media influencer -


Etsy -


National Association for the Visual Arts


Starving Artist – Honor Eastly
NAVA: in conversation