2–29 May 2022
Transitions from sparse to dense, pale to rich, Thrive (欣欣向荣) is a digital mural expressing the notion of affinity through growth and nurture. Through City of Canada Bay community participation and the artist's archive, this collection of pictures was meticulously photoshopped and animated, creating a dynamic network of interconnected flowers.
This work takes inspiration from the artist's mother's non-verbal communication with overseas family members and friends. She shares photographs of flowers as digital greetings. Thrive is part of a body of work that the artist developed for the past two years, utilising her pictures as the paint palette.
Si Yi Shen is an emerging multidisciplinary artist working with digital media, mixed reality (XR) technology and installation, moving between online and offline domains. Her current practice explores diaspora experience through the body of an immigrant in a digitally enabled world.
Recent commissions include In the Moment — Boronia Grove Community Centre, City of Parramatta (2021), Sending You Love — Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, City of Liverpool (2021), Living — Storybox Darling Harbour / Parramatta, ESEM Projects (2021), The Eclipse — Willoughby Visual Art Biennial (2019) and The Bloom and the Moon — The Digital Gallery, Rhodes (2019). Shen was also a finalist in the Fisher's Ghost Art Prize (2021 and 2019) and Rookwood Hidden Sculpture Walk (2018).
Shen currently lives, works, and plays on Gadigal land, Sydney, Australia.
17 March–14 April 2022
The Great Year and the Seventy-Two Seasons is a contemplative four-channel video artwork that contrasts the current 72-year median human lifespan with the precessional rotation of the Earth’s axis over 26,000 years. To put this in perspective, seventy-two years is the equivalent of one-degree of the Earth’s 360-degree rotation around the sun.
The Earth’s axial precession has been referenced in many ancient cultural traditions, including astronomical, astrological, scientific and religious practices. Chinese, Mayan, Indian, Khmer, Egyptian and ancient Greek civilizations mapped the motion of the Earth’s precession; Hipparchus of Rhodes in 120BC documented the measurement and Plato is thought to be among the first to refer to the cycle as “The Great Year”.
The Great Year and the Seventy-Two Seasons offers an opportunity to consider the context of deep time in relation to a single human lifespan – the chance to view the subjective concerns of our lives inside the cycles of the Earth and planets that we inhabit.
Chris Caines is an interdisciplinary artist who has worked internationally in a variety of digital and electronic media for over twenty years. This includes mediums such as video, radio, music and sound. His work has been collected by and seen at many festivals and museums including ACMI, the Queensland Art Gallery, he Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tate UK, the Art Gallery of NSW and the Berlin, Venice and Cannes festivals. The development of The Great Year and the Seventy-Two Seasons has been supported by numerous arts grants, commissions and international residencies.
17 February–13 March 2022
Landscape Forms (The Shape of 26,000 Trees) uses 3D models of trees created using artificial intelligence, specifically Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN).
Expressed using a variety of animation techniques, this work explores GAN-produced forms reminiscent of modernist sculptors such as Henry Moore or Constantin Brâncuși. By exploring machine learning in the context of artistic traditions concerned with the poetic function of landscape, this animation considers how new technologies may inform classical forms in visual culture. The work includes a musical accompaniment by Roberto Alonso Trillo, that uses a GAN system to generate a reworking of Romantic music.
Peter Nelson is a visual artist working at the intersection of landscape theory and computer games. Originally trained in painting and drawing, Nelson produces exhibitions across painting and drawing, animation, 3D printed sculpture and interactive game-based systems. Across these disciplines, he considers the history of landscape images, how they are remediated by technological shifts, and how these shifts absorb and reflect changes in our relationships with the physical environment. He has been working between Australia and East Asia for the past 10 years, and has exhibited in HanArt TZ Gallery (Hong Kong), The National Palace Museum (Taiwan), The Sichuan Fine Art Academy Museum (Chongqing) and the K11 Art Foundation (Hong Kong).
Dr Wade Marynowsky
10 January – 6 February 2022
In Experiments in Latent Space, artist Wade Marynowsky uses the collaborative, machine-learning tool Artbreeder to produce two new video works. In Artbreeder, images are ‘bred’ by having ‘children’, or by mixing an image’s ‘genes’ with other images. The lineage of the hybrid image may be traced through a collaborative family tree, with breeding and sharing able to be used as methods for exploring highly complex spaces. The main technologies that enable this tool are called Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), such as BigGAN which was trained on ImageNet – a large visual database of more than 14 million images, designed for use in visual object recognition software research.
In Experiments in Latent Space, Marynowsky has applied experimental methods to generate unexpected outcomes. Purposefully inputting local flora and landscape photography into a portrait AI engine, Marynowsky forces the engine to find faces where there are none. For example, in The Lyrebirds, the viewer sees a slowly animated sequence of hybrid insects, animals, and bird-like creatures, created by crossbreeding an extensive range of image categories.
Morphing from one hybrid creature to the next, Marynowsky’s videos never form recognisable new creatures or return as the original image that was first fed into the image generating network. Instead they exist in a liminal and latent space completely synthesised by the artist, the community and the algorithms, confusing our expectation of representation and as well as notions of authorship.
Dr Wade Marynowsky is an artist, academic and researcher working across digital media, robotics, immersive and interactive performance and installation. His practice is characterised by large-scale robotic, sound, light and interactive works that combine humour, camp and a host of unnerving thematics to absorbing effect. Dr Marynowsky has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1998, with his work being presented in major festivals, biennales and survey exhibitions around the world. He is a lecturer in Interaction Design, School of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering & IT, UTS.
Image: Video still of The Lyrebirds (2020) by Wade Marynowsky
Dr Josh Harle
15 November–12 December 2021
Since 2020, our lives and relationships have been reshaped by the everyday use of video conferencing technologies such as Zoom. Many of us now work and socialise using shared virtual spaces.
In We meet on the moon, where we share our gaze, artist Dr Josh Harle explores the longer history of these spaces through conversations with three local Canada Bay families, who share their experiences of connecting to friends and family at a distance. The interviews have been motion captured to present participants as digital avatars, expressing the strange reality – and ongoing possibilities – of using virtual tools to connect with loved ones.
Dr Josh Harle is a media artist, researcher, and educator. His work explores digital technologies, such as virtual reality, for art. He’s a City of Sydney Creative Fellow, and Director of the Tactical Space Lab, hosting artists’ VR studios since 2018.
Image: video still from We meet on the moon, where we share our gaze. Courtesy Dr Josh Harle, 2021.
17 May – 30 June 2021
The Learning Space is proud to present the new work Objects by Melbourne-based artist collective, Tangere.
Working under the collective Tangere (to elicit emotion through touch), this collaboration comprises Rhys Cousins and Lucy Maddox. Working between art, design, and architecture, the artists explore the convergence and intersection of their respective practices for new artistic and creative outcomes.
Objects is a series of generative art videos created using images of Rhodes and the City of Canada Bay to bring a new perspective to the local area. Generative art is an emerging digital art form in which artists create work with the help of autonomous, algorithmic decisions made by computer programs. This process allows for the exploration of ideas, colours, forms, shapes, and patterns in a way that challenges traditional representational art.
The videos are generated from photographs, both modern and historical, of the City of Canada Bay area. Through a series of programmed algorithms, they are transformed into textural, abstract digital 'objects' that seem to take up space and move within the screens themselves. The work aims to bring a colourful intensity to familiar spaces, and viewers can pause to consider these vivid new objects as reinterpretations of their local community.
Rhys Cousins is a creative practitioner working across design, art, and landscape architecture, exploring new possibilities of experience as informed by materiality, space, and light in traditional and non-traditional media in public/civic space.
Lucy Maddox is a visual artist working in a variety of modern and traditional mediums, including painting, printmaking, sculpture, and digital art. Her practice investigates the connection between contemporary and conventional concepts and methods, as well as the emotional associations made through touch. Both artists are exploring the possibilities of the emerging art movement of Generative Art to influence and develop their artistic outcomes and practice.
Image: video still Objects. Courtesy Tangere, 2021.
20 April – 16 May 2021
The Learning Space is proud to present an exhibition by a young and emerging curator, Wang Youxaun (Anna).
Unfamiliar Corners of the World brings together three Australian-based artists who use the medium of video to explore the coexistence of humans and the natural world. Wang reflects that as environmental pollution has steadily become an urgent problem, the balance between nature and humans has become a focus of attention for many artists.
Throughout the exhibition we will be showing works from artists Hayden Fowler, Darryl Rogers, and Shoufay Derz.
Wang Youxuan (Anna) is a new curator based in Shanghai, China. She studied printmaking at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan which inspired her passion for contemporary art. Most recently she completed a Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership at UNSW Art and Design in Sydney. This exhibition is her first curatorial project after graduation. She is interested in using art as an intermediary between humanity and nature, focusing on current environmental issues while showing the unique thinking of artists.
Image credit: Video still of New World Order (2013) by Hayden Fowler
We would like to thank Artbank and Artereal Gallery for permission to screen these works.
3-11 February 2021
15-28 February 2021
The Learning Space is proud to show this unique work by Sydney artist, Tully Arnot.
Holobiont is an experimental documentary investigating human engagements with soil, clay and earth, presented alongside a live feed of protozoa and other soil microorganisms captured through a hobby microscope and Raspberry Pi camera.
The artwork presents a number of scientific and philosophical concepts in an accessible manner, and firmly situates itself in the realm of Citizen Science. It uses everyday microscopic technologies to investigate the world around us, specifically analysing local soil samples and encouraging a greater awareness of the symbiotic relationships we have with the local environment.
Tully Arnot's art practice explores the effect that contemporary technology has on human relationships and the natural world, using a variety of mediums such as kinetic sculpture, installation, video, photography and performance. His work examines the isolating effects of our increasingly connected, but ultimately disconnected world, exploring this through our (often simulated) engagement with the environment and other humans.
10 February – 4 March 2020
Libration Song is a video piece based on our intimate and mostly unconscious relationship to the moon, the ocean, and its cycles. The videos in this artwork are synchronised to reflect the cycle of the high and low tides of the Rhodes shoreline.
Starting precisely at high tide at the beginning of the exhibition period, the videos slowly move in and out of phase as the moon shifts the tides, coming back into synchronisation at the end of the exhibition.
Chris Caines is an interdisciplinary artist who works with digital and electronic media including video, radio, music and sound. His artwork has been shown at festivals and museums including ACMI, The Queensland Art Gallery, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tate UK, the Art Gallery of NSW and the Berlin, Venice and Cannes festivals. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Media Arts program at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Born on Saturn
6 January – 2 February 2020
The Learning Space is proud to present a fantastic artwork by Sydney artist Dr Wade Marynowsky. Born on Saturn is a playful and personal work that invites the viewer to input their face, eyes, mouth, or any other object into the 3D generated artwork.
To create this work, a live camera input is fed into a computer and texture-mapped onto 3D spheres. The spheres are emitted from a particle system generator, a simulation of living systems that is used in computer graphics to create special effects such as bubbles, smoke, and fire.
Sound is also seen as a visual waveform in this 3D environment. The constant flow and spikes of the waveform may be interpreted to have new meaning, such as the rise and fall of polar ice caps or the cosmic mountains of an imaginary planet. Clap or yell to enjoy this part of the interactive artwork, and ponder how sound interconnects to the galaxy around us.
As the audience interacts with the camera, the behavioural parameters of the 3D system combine to create a strange doppelgänger effect. The audience multiplies on screen and flies around in this virtual environment, in turn becoming part of the computer-generated artwork.
Dr Wade Marynowsky is an artist, academic and researcher working across robotics, immersive and interactive performance and installation. His practice is characterised by large-scale robotic, sound, light and interactive works that combine humour, camp and a host of unnerving thematics to absorbing affect. Dr Marynowsky has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1998, with his work being presented in major festivals, biennales and survey exhibitions around the world. He is a lecturer in Interactive Design, School of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering & IT, UTS.
Never Ending Time
4 November – 1 December
The Learning Space is proud to present an exhibition by Brisbane artist Kellie O'Dempsey.
Never Ending Time brings together two of O'Dempsey's stunning video artworks The Never-ending Line and Negative Time Echo in a lyrical conversation about process and possibility. These works explore drawing as transformation through the use of traditional and digital drawing techniques.
These works are based around the action of drawing, with digital technology used to emphasise the gesture and performativity of the drawer. Investigating the idea that nothing is ever finished, these video works show the artist in an eternal loop of making and unmaking. The artist is seen drawing as lines that animate in a mesmerising continuum, as responsive exchange between line, sound and movement.
In exploring drawing through animation Never Ending Time encourages art-making as a playful and never-ending process.
Kellie O’Dempsey is a Brisbane-based artist who develops inclusive, site-specific installations and performances using drawing. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Old and New Art, the National Gallery of Australia and the Museum of Brisbane.
Home, Dignity, Justice: Images and Stories from the Australian Human Rights Commission
10 October – 3 November
These powerful photographs are an intimate glimpse into the important work that human rights activists do around the world.
This photographic exhibition brings together entries by children and adults and aims to raise our awareness of human rights through the themes of home, dignity and justice.
Image: Stateless and Homeless: Displaced Rohingya Girl, IDP Camp, Sittwe, Myanmar, by Alister McKeich (2017).
Full Moon and the Bloom
13 – 29 September
The Learning Space is proud to present a new work by Sydney artist Eye Shen.
Eye Shen’s mother photographs the flowers in her garden and sends them as daily digital greetings to family and friends overseas. These photographs embody nostalgia, the longing for reconnection and hope for a better life. Just like the colours of the flowers in these pictures, Australia embodies many diverse cultures and ethnicities. Migrants just like Eye Shen’s mother have profoundly influenced the places, people and community they live in.
In Full Moon and the Bloom the artist uses her mother's photographs to poetically portray the experience of immigration and displacement. Signifying day and night, these moving paintings represent the constant flux of our belonging and identity, morphing with personal and collective experiences. The work takes its title from a popular Chinese song from the 1940s, 月圆花好 (The Full Moon and the Blooming Flowers). The song depicts the concept of reunion and love, a topic that relates to many cultures.
Starting on the day of Mid-Autumn Festival, Eye Shen’s brightly coloured animation sends an auspicious message to everyone who walks past.
Eye Shen is a Sydney-based artist. Her work explores the question of individual and collective identities and belonging through digital footprints. Blending visual elements of her Chinese heritage with aesthetic and material experiments, her work is a dynamic story-telling of the world we live in.
Sea Rise in Canada Bay / What Lies Beneath
26 August – 11 September
The Learning Space is proud to present two new artworks by Andre Braun.
What Lies Beneath explores the realities of waterway pollution – both physical and chemical – revealing an underwater landscape otherwise hidden from view. Sea Rise in Canada Bay reflects on how an increase in extreme weather patterns could dramatically change our shoreline – posing the question, how would Canada Bay look with a 2-3 metre sea rise?
These artworks have been created for The Digital Gallery using 3D visualisation to reflect on the impact of serious environmental issues affecting waterways around the world, including our very own Canada Bay.
Andre Braun is a Switzerland-born, Sydney-based artist working across sculpture, photography, graphics and visualisation.
Changing Landscapes: A History of Rhodes
5 – 18 August
In this exhibition, we peer into the City of Canada Bay archives to find fascinating photos, maps, and illustrations that provide insight into the shifting landscape of Rhodes from 1850s up until the present day.
Rhodes Peninsular has undergone significant changes over the last two centuries. Prior to the arrival of the British in 1788, the Rhodes peninsula was part of the traditional lands of the Wangal Clan, one of 29 tribes of the Eora nation. The Wangal are believed to have inhabited the area for at least 15,000 years.
In 1886 the Northern Rail line between Strathfield and Hornsby was opened, with a railway station at Rhodes. This provided the impetus to develop industry along the rail line. Throughout much of the twentieth century, the landscape of Rhodes was dominated by industry. By the 1980s these industries began moving away from the peninsula, eventually making way for a vibrant residential area.
Thank you to our Local Studies Librarian for providing the images and information for this exhibition.
Art in Sequence
8 – 21 July
Comic Con-versation is a week-long festival celebrating local comic creators in Libraries throughout Sydney. As part of this event The Learning Space is proud to present the exhibition Art in Sequence, featuring talented local comic artists. From fantasy adventures, crime thrillers, and witty commentaries on day-to-day life, these artists employ strikingly unique graphic styles that illustrate the scope and creative potential of storytelling through comics.
Featuring work by Han Nguyen, Andrew Tribe, Danielle Jadusingh, Harjanto Handinata, Julian Christopher Velasco, Nathan Seabolt, Queenie Chan, Robert Luxford, Delusional, Stephen Kok, and Victor Bravo.
All artists in this exhibition are members of The Sydney Comics Guild – a local community of comic creators who work together to support the creation of graphic novels, web comics, and zines throughout Sydney.
Image: The Perfect Storm of Crime by Andrew Tribe
27 May – 16 June 2019
With Artificial Intelligence becoming increasingly part of our daily lives, multi-media artist Gen Collier is curious as to what its effects might mean for the future of our society and culture. Currently, AI, Machine Learning, and algorithms are already being applied all around us: YouTube and Spotify use AI to learn the behaviour of users, suggesting what we might like to listen to or purchase next. To what extent will these systems control what we do – or don’t – see, hear or experience? What is AI really capable of? How can it assist us? And how can we prepare for our future with it?
Kylie Jenner-ated is a computer generated artwork that examines contemporary processes of computation that are increasingly responsible for personal data collection. In this work, Collier uses AI as an artistic tool in attempt to make visible some of AI’s structures and processes. Kylie Jenner was chosen as the subject, as she is one of the most influential figures impacting contemporary notions of aesthetics and culture. After hundreds of images were collected the artist trained a type of Neural Network called a ‘GAN’ to learn what Jenner looks like, and then generate fake images within the dataset. Kylie Jenner-ated demonstrates the output of the system learning Collier’s aesthetics, and attempts to translate these processes in a way that that is easily observable to the viewer.
Gen Collier is a multimedia artist working at the intersection of digital media, experimental sound and music. Materials central to her practice include her laptop, data, code, software, programs and open-source libraries. She examines the effects of emerging technologies – particularly advances in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning – on society and how they are beginning to shape culture and the way we experience information today.
While You Are Here... Digital Traces of Rhodes
2 January – 11 February
This award winning artwork is a creative collaboration between The Learning Space and the Rhodes Multicultural Community Association (RMCA). In this project, Augmented Reality is used to capture how members of the local community have adopted the spaces around The Connection - transforming them into social and cultural landscapes where dance, music and song are exchanged.
While You Are Here…we invite you to experience these unique performances.