A remanent of a brewery from the early 1900s, the Plympton Pumphouse building has been a silent witness to an environment continuously in flux at the hands of human intervention. The landscape itself on which it sits has, of course, been in constant tectonic flow for millennia.
Transitions, a new work by artist Nathan John Thompson, makes visible the unseen sonic movements, histories and environments within this location. Manmade electromagnetic pulses, structural vibrations, geological movements, pre-recorded stories, and waterway movements are captured within the Pumphouse, processed and interpreted by a vibrational robotic body. Here sound takes the form of a transient liquid metal, called gallium, which moves with the robotic body in delicate ethereality. Transitions is an invitation to embrace ambiguity and understand paradox. It is a performative study into the impermanence of our being and the legacies of listening across time.
Transitions has been produced in collaboration with Matt Gingold.
Nathan John Thompson
Nathan John Thompson explores the possibilities of man/machine interaction, mechanical sentience and the hidden creative corners that arise from these relationships. Building Dissipative Systems – both electromechanical and biochemical – that play along the blurred edge of the interactive while showing independent intent and agency. Nathans work often manipulates life to question and problematise humanity’s position in the contemporary environment in order to build greater understanding of the inhabited space we share. His long-term enquiry surrounds the political and ethical issues encountered when we allow technology ‘open access’ to our lives. Nathan has shown work and performed throughout Australia, Europe, Asia and Latin America. In 2021 his work has received awards of excellence in both Ars Electronica and Japan Media Arts festivals.
He is currently a researcher at SymbioticA – IP Stem Cell technologies implementing bio-engineered human brain organoids to develop a ‘surrogate performer’ for aged, infirm or deceased composers.
Matt Gingold is a transdisciplinary artist with a practice that weaves together critical theory, electronic art and experimental science. His artworks focus on the intimate experience of technology – both our experiences of technology, and technology’s experience of the world.
He is the recipient of a Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction for Interactive Art, a Green Room Award for Best Video Design and two fellowships in computer vision and machine learning at the Open University (UK) and Simon Fraser University (CA).
He has exhibited and performed audiovisual works all over the world, including Club Transmediale (DE), ANTI Festival (FI), Yamaguchi Centre for Art and Media (JP), One Art Space (NY), Seoul Festival (KR), PICA, MONA, Melbourne Museum, Sydney Theatre Company and the National Portrait Gallery of Australia.
Matt has recently completed a Graduate Certificate of Artificial Intelligence and is currently in residence at SymbioticA, where he is researching the ethics and aesthetics of (non)human (bio)logical complexity, mental health, madness and creativity, as part of the Australia Council’s Arts and Disability Mentorship Initiative.