Week 4: Excursion to the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences

Lindsay Kelley’s Ballistic Bundts (detailed)

In week 4, we will go on an excursion to the Powerhouse Museum (Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences) to visit three exhibitions:
Human non human
Spinning World
Common Good

We are collecting an entry fee of $6 in week 3’s class and this entry fee will allow you to visit all the exhibitions and spaces in the museum (apart from the ticketed exhibit Reigning Men).

On Tuesday 14 August, we will meet at the front of the Museum – Harris Street entrance at 11am. Direction to the museum is as follows:

The Powerhouse Museum
500 Harris Street, Ultimo

The closest train station is Central Station and you can reach the museum via the Devonshire Street Tunnel at Central Station’s Southern Concourse to The Goods Line  – view this walking guide.

The 501 bus stops directly outside the Museum.

More information on access can be found on the Museum’s website.

We expect to spend 1.5 – 2 hours at the museum where you can view these exhibitions. You may also want to take the opportunity to visit other exhibits and spaces within the museum to further research interact displays and audience experience and develop ideas for your major project.

There is an additional exhibition at UTS Gallery: Hello World curated by Aaron Seymour. The gallery is on the way from the Museum to the Central Train Station, so you may want to budget some time to look in as part of this trip.



For your first assignment: Research Essay, you are asked to select one work from the Human Non Human exhibition for analysis. It is important to spend time in the exhibition and experience the works. All the works in this exhibition have a research component which may require further investigation.

While you are at the museum, you are strongly encouraged to visit other areas and exhibitions. There are many displays that utilise a variety of media technologies and materials to engaging audiences and viewers. The focus of this visit is to examine the application of media, materials, and technologies in current media arts and design practices first hand, and gather research materials to provide a context for your project work in the subject.

In the Research Essay, you are asked to:

  • choose one work that you feel strongly about
  • research the artist, his/her intention in creating the work, the central ideas he/ she is conveying in the work
  • critically analyse the work in terms of materials and making
  • describe the physical presentation of the work in details
  • assess how well the artist achieves his/ her ideas or investigation through the work’s material manifestation

The intention of this analysis is to understand how ideas are transformed into physical, material works through production, installation, and exhibition. This is the time to consider and apply material research and investigation.

So the focus of your enquiry will be on the works: How do we talk about work? How do we talk about work in terms of their materials?

Step 1: Describe

  • Describe your encounter/ experience of the work?
  • How does the work appear physically? How does it feel?
  • What are the elements that make up the work?
  • What materials is it made out of? What are the processes?
  • How is it presented?

Step 2: Analyse

  • How do the elements that make up the work (both material and immaterial) relate to each other in the work’s final form?
  • How is the ‘coming together’ of different elements/ materials achieved?
  • What kind of material experimentation the work may have undergone?
  • If there are narratives or ideas embedded in/ embodied within the work, how is this achieved through the elements and materials?
  • What kind of dialogues does the work have with its audience?

Step 3: Critique

  • Does the work consciously make reference to past works or practices? How does it do this?
  • What traditions or practices may the work be pointing to (even if this is a breaking away from a tradition)? How is the work speaking with these other existing works and practices?
  • How successful is the work in creating and conducting dialogues with past practices?
  • How does the audience participate in this dialogue?

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