5 May 2021 @ 4:00 pm

Rehearsing Stranger Realities

This SensiLab Forum is about keeping it weird and denying mastery over the strangeness of reality. It is about working with the uncertainty of not knowing, and staging opportunities for collaborators and audiences to not know either. It is about feeling your way through a live, living, arts practice enmeshed in the sensations, wonders and horrors of everyday life. This forum is practical and shares tools and ideas drawn from two decades of interdisciplinary practice to aid others who might also be attempting to create work in ways that initially seem impossible and unprecedented. The ideas and tools introduced emerge from theatre directing and dramaturgy, and so approach artworks as events that are rehearsed, staged and experienced in time. 

The talk draws on examples of recent work including Vanitas (2018) an expanded audio walk for cemeteries and smartphones, and Exhuming Johnny (2019) a choreographed performance speculating on the quantum body’s ability to travel backwards in time. The talk also thinks through current works in progress: The Heart (2021) a 42-year AI performance and installation, Child of Now (2021) a massively co-authored story about the next century performed by 14,400 Melbournians, and Sacrifice (2022) a live art experiment with a robot swarm (in disguise as) standing stones.

This SensiLab Forum took place on Wednesday 5th May.

Robert Walton (Aus/UK) is a conceptual, media and performance artist whose work includes theatre, choreography, installation, writing and interactive art. Described by The Times as “an original and talented thinker and theatre maker”, he has directed the creation of over 30 shows. Robert trained in theatre at Dartington College of Arts (England) and as a technologist in The University of Glasgow’s Master of Science in Information Technology (Software and Systems) programme. His PhD from the University of Melbourne explored the creative use of mobile computing in performance events.

Walton is currently Artist in Residence at the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology’s School of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne where he leads the creation of performance artworks that combine emerging technologies, including, artificial intelligence, machine vision, virtual holograms, swarm robotics, engineered bacterial bioluminescence, building management systems data, and ambient computing.

This SensiLab forum was moderated by Sam Trolland, PhD candidate at SensiLab.