Ars Electronica Garden Newcastle

Novocastrian 2050: Ecosystem Reboot.

University of Newcastle (AU), FASTLab (AU), Art Thinking Australia (AU)

Newcastle is a city at the crossroads of ecology and technology, where an industrial infrastructure gives way to a vibrant culture of artistic experimentation. In the Ars Electronica Newcastle Garden, an interdisciplinary community of artists led by Kristefan Minski join forces to explore the nexus of virtual art, experimental sound and artist-made technology. In this hybrid spirit, we weave together bespoke handmade electronica, experimental software, and emergent audio-visual phenomena, in performances that generate a virtual space that is profoundly in resonance with the Post-Anthroposcenic materiality of Newcastle. Following on from Australian-Italian thinker Rosi Braidotti, Post-Anthroposcenic thinking proposes that in order to live sustainably on Planet Earth, we must balance human well-being with care for the environment, and of course respect Indigenous thinking and models of ecological care. This project is has received kind support from Profs Paul Egglestone and Mario Minichiello at FASTlab, the School of Creative Industries, University of Newcastle.

Novocastrian 2050: Ecosystem Reboot.

A feature of the inaugural BIOMES art-science exhibition in Newcastle, Australia.

Ars Electronica Newcastle Garden is a feature happening at the centre of the inaugural BIOMES Exhibition in Newcastle, Australia. In September 2020, the site of Newcastle’s Old Train Station will be hosting BIOMES, a series of installations, workshops, performances and presentations as part of Australian National Biodiversity month. Between September 9 and 13, BIOMES will focus on the overarching theme of Ecology that spans both the natural and artificial world. The unique perspectives from Australia’s largest regional coastal community combined with the many international flavours from across globe will inspire a new discourse for the future.

BIOMES is an art science collaboration between the University of Newcastle’s Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Education and Arts. Its objective is to provide an engaging and immersive experience to empower the local community to take their own action and to see their region as a living, sustainable and diverse community.  BIOMES addresses the human issues causing today’s climate emergency by celebrating stories that bring biodiversity back from the brink of extinction. Drawing on the ethos from Ars Electronica, BIOMES uses Art Thinking to inspire and create a new “Handlungsraum” (space for action) accessible to all citizens past, present and future. A team of experts from the FASTLab (Centre of Applied Chaos) created a virtual 360 garden as a way to bring the remote audience into this unique happening. (Text Kristefan Minski, Bernadette Drabsch & Alex Callen)
The FASTlab Performance Experiment (Mozilla Hub) highlights a curated suite of audio-visual performances connected to the Biomes Newcastle Garden (facilitated by Kristefan Minski). As a speculative investigation into human creativity at the axis of virtual art and experimental media, this network of performance rooms is a participatory meeting place for perspectives that sow the seeds of a paradigm shift. We point toward the overarching theme of ‘Novocastrian 2050’ and ask: What next after the Anthroposcene? What will a future ecology in Newcastle look and feel like? We imagine a new hybrid of actual and virtual.

Two Creative Question Challenge (CQC) segments were also produced by for the Ars Electronica Garden Newcastle featuring local artists, scientists, technologists and philosophers.

(Text Kristefan Minski, Bernadette Drabsch, Alex Callen & Rewa Wright)

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Project Credits / Acknowledgements

Ars Electronica Garden Newcastle was produced and managed by Art Thinking Australia in collaboration with the University of Newcastle and FASTLab: Centre of Applied Chaos.

Biomes was created and led by the University of Newcastle’s School of Environmental and Life Sciences in partnership with the School of Creative Industries’, FASTLab and the School of Psychology.
Biomes Curatorial team:
Alex Callen (AU)
Bernadette Drabsch (AU)
Simone O’Callaghan (AU)
Luke O’Donnell (AU)
Scientific communication leads and mentors:
Michelle Kelly (AU)
Lynette Plenderleith (UK)

Art Thinking Consultant:
Kristefan Minski (Director, Art Thinking Australia)

Artists and artworks:
Jemma Gillard (AU) Cane toad and native frog models
Prue Sailer (AU) Harbingers of Rain
Rachel Klyve (AU) Endangered animals of the Hunter mandala
Linda Cox (AU) Art and Climate: Coastal Estuary field sheets
Tallulah Cunningham (AU) Bats
Nicole Carroll (US) Under the Surface: Throsby Creek, Orrery Arcana
Louisa Magrics (AU) Hyperweb
Ralph Kenke (AU/DE) Human Vs Machine
Nerita Taylor (AU) Endangered Ecological Communities
Kathirine Sentas (AU) Soft Coral of Port Stephens
Linda Lunnon (AU) Ancient Guardian
Uncalculated (Signaletic Flow): Rewa Wright (NZ) & Simon Howden (NZ)
Andrew Styan (AU) You are here
Dayna Perez (AU) Our Vibrant Vision
Louise Wills (AU / UK) Lace Monitor and Wanted posters
Lila Raymond (AU) Have you seen posters
Nicole Perez (AU) Managing the Green and Gold Bell Frog habitat
Puck Van Der Laan (NL) Little Legends bat infographic
Maree Elliott (AU) Hunter mycology
Kaya Klop-Toker (AU) Wonderful Biodiversity posters.

Participating Scientists:
Eva Twarkowski (AU), Jane Lloyd-Jones (AU), Henrietta Mooney (AU), Pauline Dunne (AU), Freddy Herrera (AU), Toby Whaleboat (AU), Emily Mowatt (AU), Rose Upton (AU), Alana Burton (AU), Anna Lonergan (AU), Cassandra Bugir (AU), Kaya Klop-Toker (AU), Dean Lenga (AU), Sarah Stock (AU), Charlotte Alley (AU), Samantha Wallace (AU), Rebecca Seeto (AU), Amelia Rofe (AU), Ninon Meyer (AU), Robert Scanlon (AU), Ryan Witt (AU), Michael Mahony (AU), John Clulow (AU), Matt Hayward (AU), Andrea Griffin (AU), Zac Coates (AU), Alison Walter (AU), Tim McDonald (AU), Brent Cassidy (AU)

BIOMES Partners:
University of Newcastle School of Environmental and Life Sciences (AU)
University of Newcastle School of Creative Industries (AU)
University of Newcastle School of Psychology (AU)
FASTLab: the Centre of Applied Chaos (AU)
Conservation Science Research Group (AU)
Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation (AU)
Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (AU)
Hunter Region Landcare Network (AU)
Hunter Local Land Services (AU)
Centre for Brain and Mental Health Research (AU)

This room is supported by FASTlab ( Future, Arts, Science, Technology Lab) at the University of Newcastle School of Creative Industries. Special thanks to Profs. Paul Egglestone and Mario Minichiello for supporting this network of rooms.
Hub curator and producer: Rewa Wright (NZ)
Hubs WebXR virtual spaces designed and created by:
Alison Bennett (AU), the Performance Garden and the Shed

Rewa Wright (NZ/Ngati Taweke & Te Uri o Hau) , the FASTlab Performance Cavern and the Coal Pit,
Jahkarli Romanis (AU/Pitta Pitta), (Dis)Connected to Country
Jon Drummond (AU)
Huw Jones(AU)
Nicole Carroll (US)
Adam Manning & Ray Kelly Jnr. an(AU)Amelia Bessenyei (AU)
Clinton Watkins (NZ)
Go Nuclear (NZ)
Rewa Wright (NZ) & Simon Howden (NZ)
Mum & Dad (AU).

Presented in association with FASTlab, School of Creative Industries, The University of Newcastle.

Producer: Kristefan Minski (AU)
TV Studio Director: Neale Davy (AU)
TV Studio Crew: Lachlan Mayfield (AU), Cassandra Thomson (AU), Leah Paterson (AU), Elyh Tarran (AU), Jack Dalton (AU), Sam Baker (AU)
CQC Participants: Daryn McKenny (AU), Rewa Wright (NZ), Andrew Lloyd (AU), Louisa Magrics (AU)
CQC Visualiser: Rully Zakaria (AU)
CQC Catalyst (Moderator): Matt McFarlane (AU)
Creative Industries Advisor: Bernadette Drabsch (AU)
Scientific Advisor: Alex Callen (AU)
Special Thanks for technical support: Chris Wedlock (AU)

CQC Newcastle project was made possible by the University of Newcastle Faculty of Education and Arts Strategic Networks and Pilot Projects Scheme (SNaPPS) funding.
Team: A/Pro Craig Hight, Dr Bernadette Drabsch, Dr Simone O’Callaghan, A/Pro Matthew Hayward, Dr Andrea Griffin, Dr Kaya Klop-Toker, Dr Alexandra Callen

Director: Lachlan Mayfield (AU)
Cassandra Thomson (AU)
Production Consultant: Dr. Stuart McBratney (AU)
Director of Photography: Leah Paterson (AU)
Sound Recordist: Elyh Tarran (AU)
Editors: Kate Grant (AU), Jack Dalton (AU)
Production Assistant: Christopher McLaren (AU)
Interviewer and Garden Tour Guide: Sam Baker (AU)
Music Compuser: Louisa Magrics (AU)
Special Thanks: Chris Wedlock (AU)

Ars Electronica Garden NEWCASTLE was initiated, managed and facilitated by Kristefan Minski (AU). Founder and director of Art Thinking Australia


Press kit PDF (EN)

University of Newcastle
Art Thinking Australia