This is a Voice

The current exhibition This is a Voice at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, is a Wellcome Collection exhibition produced in collaboration with the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

This unique exhibition investigates voice, sound, aural creation, perception and experience through objects, museum collections, and contemporary media artworks.

MEDA202 and MEDA302 students are particularly recommended to visit the exhibition to inform their research and project works.

More information can be found here.

Lecture 8 Architecture and Immersion

This week’s lecture shifts our focus to how we experience space. When we walk around a new building, we explore the interior spaces with our senses, we may chance upon entrances and exits, we may be guided by passages and corridors, we experience built spaces intuitively.  Architecture is movement in space and passage through time and there are no still moments. Inhabiting within architecture is a designed experience – it can be immersive.

What can we learn from architecture that can be transposed to creating meaningful and affective experiences using media technologies? In interactive online medium, how do we provide users with confidence  whilst navigating these intangible spaces. How do we engage an audience intuitively in an installation work?

Download lecture slides: MEDA202_lecture08_slides_upload (2.3MB)

Week 6 Iterative Practice and Critical Reflection

'Drawing for Arrow of Time (Unfinished Life)' - Tatsuo Miyajima

‘Drawing for Arrow of Time (Unfinished Life)’ – Tatsuo Miyajima

In week two we discussed the difference and relationship between art and craft. I argued that craft can be used as both a tool for suspending agency  – for giving over to process – and that experimental  practice can animate and extend the disciplinary and cultural limits that define a particular craft. We might also acknowledge that while art seems to require craft, craft doesn’t seem seem to require art.

Another way of positioning this fact of craft not needing art might be to suggest that an interesting media arts practice extends beyond craft, uses it mercilessly, but always in the service of moving things forward and differently – craft often serves art but rarely does the inverse apply.

Today we will hinge off this difference and relationship to explore what makes an interesting media arts practice and project.

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Workshop 6: Rube Goldberg Machine 2/ Materials

No class has ever built a Rube-Goldberg Machine that runs from the beginning to end without stopping once. MEDA202 2017 class will be challenging for this title. We will launch our machine this year at 5.00 pm EST (UTC+10) on Tuesday 29 August.

“if ever a challenger wins…. he or she will gain the people’s ovation and fame forever.”

As well, there will also be awards for groups that built a section that:

  • takes the longest time to complete
  • provides the best visual spectacle
  • provides the best auditory spectacle
  • traverses the most vertical distance
  • has the most functional parts

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Lecture 6 Cabinet and Collection

Fold-out engraving from Ferrante Imperato's Dell'Historia Naturale (Naples 1599), the earliest illustration of a natural history cabinet

Fold-out engraving from Ferrante Imperato’s Dell’Historia Naturale (Naples 1599), the earliest illustration of a natural history cabinet

In last lecture, we looked at how everyday objects can be used as an artistic medium, exploring the use of ‘ready-mades’ in modern art beginning with Marcel Duchamp, and in the contemporary period in the work of Jeff Koon. We also looked at how everyday objects also function symbolically in the works of Andy Warhol and how they are monumentalised in Damien Hirst’s works. Specifically, we examined how Sarah Sze and Ian Burns both use objects as the base materials of their works, albeit differently.

In this lecture, we keep our focus on objects, but instead of looking at objects as a class of things, we will examine found or collected objects specifically. We explore objects in collections: the wunderkammer, contemporary museums, and in artworks – how the display and presentation of material objects can shape the audience experience.We focus on the works of Joseph Cornell, Mark Dion, and Fiona Hall in interpreting the wunderkammer concept.

This lecture provides the relevant contexts for the major project of the subject – in addressing the theme of the ‘nature of curiosity’.

Lecture 5 The Way Things Go

Sarah Sze’s Triple Point (Planetarium) at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, 2014

This lecture focuses on how we can create interactive experiences using physical objects. We are physical beings inhabiting a physical world, our interactions are physical. So we ask: can everyday objects be considered as a medium? How do the material qualities of these objects offer sites of interaction?

We explore the role of objects in art by looking at a range of art practices and artworks including the use of ‘ready-mades’ by Marcel Duchamp, Jeff Koon’s incorporation of mass-produced products into his later works, the monumentalisation of everyday objects in the works of Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst. We also focus on how everyday items provide the basis for Sarah Sze’s installation, and the machines of Ian Burns. 

Download MEDA202_lecture05_slides as pdf.

Workshop 5: Rube Goldberg Machine 1

In weeks 5 and 6, we focus on the material quality of physical objects by building a Rube-Goldberg Machine (RGM). MEDA202’s tutorial classes will divide into 10 groups of 4 students, each create a component of the machine (in a chain reaction). The first group  will determine how the machine gets started. The last group will decide the function of machine.

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Week 4 Excursion


In week 4, we will visit 2 exhibitions in Sydney: MCA COLLECTION: TODAY TOMORROW YESTERDAY at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Sounding the Future at the University of Technology Sydney Gallery.

We will first meet at the foyer of the Museum of Contemporary Art at 10.30 and travel to the UTS Gallery.

This excursion presents an excellent opportunity for us to visit exhibitions of contemporary arts together and discuss the ideas these works present, their execution and presentation as well as raise questions about the role and relevance of art and media.

For MEDA302 in particular, the value of physically encounter contemporary art and media works exhibited in an art space is particularly relevant when developing your Media Arts Project. Your focus will be in terms of the ideas and concepts explored the works as well as how these are executed as physical, material works. You will also be asked to pay close attention to the curatorial rationale of how works are installed and exhibited.

A note that This is a Voice has just opened at the Powerhouse Museum. Student general entry fee is $8. You are welcome to visit this exhibition after our excursion at UTS. The Powerhouse Museum is a short walk from UTS.

Art Auction

Please deliver the works you will be donating to TAEM Gallery in Building 25 from 3.30pm to 5.30pm on Monday 14 August. Please attach a label at the back of each work with the following information:

Your name, Title, Year, Medium/ Media, Dimension/ duration

Please let Jo know if you have any questions


Week 3 Invention and Innovation

Warren Leung, Only Time will Tell

Warren Leung, Only Time will Tell

In week 3 we have invited the School’s current artist-in-residence Warren Leung to talk to us about his practice. Warren is an international Hong Kong-based artist. His reflective practice combines historical exploration with conceptual inquiry within a contemporary urban landscape. Ranging from photography and video to text, performance and installation, he is concerned with the undetermined relationship between conception, perception and understanding, especially in relation to site and history within cultural/political frameworks.

His site-specific project was featured in the first Hong Kong pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2001. His works have been exhibited in major international museums and institutions including Tate Modern in London, NRW Forum in Dusseldorf, Museu da Imagem e do Som in São Paulo and biennales in Shanghai, Busan and Manchester.

Warren was a co-founder of Para/Site Art Space. He has been engaged in collaborative projects, including seminal works with Sara Wong such as City Cookie and Museum of the Lost. Warren was visiting artist at the Institut Kunst of Hochschule Luzern and Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais in Switzerland; Monash University, Melbourne and Australian National University. He has also participated in artist-in-residence programmes in New York, Banff, Vienna and Sapporo. He  teaches in the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.

Please have a look at his practice and works (

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