Digital Turf: Australia

Digital art and culture is growing all over the world and some cultures are producing more than their share. While surfing you may have noticed that ".au" is the source for many innovative transmissions. From webzines to journals of theory, the aussies are making their mark on the web and in the expanding discourse of new media.

Most notably, Australia is flush with artists using digital media. STELARC is an Australian-based performance artist whose work explores and extends the concept of the body and its relationship with technology through human/machine interfaces incorporating the Internet and Web, sound, music, video and computers. STELARC has recently been performing interactively with the Internet. While his body is under the control of the flux of information streaming through the Net during these performances, live images are uploaded and samples have been archived for viewing.(See DAS link category Digital Art)

Virtual Artists is a fully elaborated Australian digital media business. Specializing in network related design problems and applications, they act as a portal and used equipment depot to the digital community.(See the DAS category Design) One of their hallmark projects is the site for the Screenarts Directory. Screenarts is the Australian Network for Art and Technology, in collaboration with the Media Resource Centre in Adelaide and dLux media arts in Sydney, has developed screenarts, a website presenting Australian online screen-based digital art. The project has been supported by the Australian Film Commission.(See the DAS category Network)

M/C is an Australian journal on media and culture that comes from the University of Queensland. M/C crosses over between the popular and the academic, by engaging with the 'popular' and integrating the work of 'scholarship' in media and cultural studies into our critical work. (See the DAS web link category Theory).

M/C is joined in the Australian sun by Geekgirl, an always surprising mix of pop, personailty, and solid doses of cyberlifestyle. Geekgirl has many claims to fame but wallpaper seems to be one of her stronger suits, free for download to the apearance conscious laptop surfer. (See the DAS web link category Journal)

For the more theoretically minded, one of the great collections of theory, Situationist International Online, is found in the web's outback. This site offers a number of Situationist, Lettrist and COBRA texts unavailable elsewhere online, and provides a comprehensive list of every situationist text currently available in English. (See the DAS category Theory)
If you are thinking of studying in Australia, the Key Centre at the University of Sydney, is internationally known for advances in Artificial Intelligence in Design, Computer Support for Collaborative Design, Design Cognition and Virtual Architectures.The Key Centre of Design Computing and Cognition is a collection of people within the Department of Architectural and Design Science whose main interests lie in the general area of design computing. The vision of the Key Centre is to improve the quality of design through the application of the latest developments in computing.(See the DAS category Schools)

The Electronic Writing Ensemble, piped worldwide from Kangaroo country, provides a hub for some of the best hypertext writing online.(See the DAS Feature Hypertext Artists) The Electronic Writing Research Ensemble seeks “to contribute to research on writing, and to writing as research, in the (electronic) way of facilitating a continuing inventive practise, a composing and recomposing, of textuality that is interdisciplinary, poetic, critical, and personal.” (See the DAS link category Network)

And lastly, Australia was host to a unique exploration of space. Makrolab, a ten year project which is located in a different place each year, took place on Rottnest Island, Western Australia. ( Makrolab project consisted of the Makrolab architecture and modular environments, sensors, sustainability and energy production systems, food productions systems, communications consoles to communicate with it, networks and integration systems, publications and lectures. (See the DAS link category Space and the DAS Feature Practice/Field).

©Scott Weiland 2000
Scott Weiland is a freelance editor, writer, and curator. He is an associate Interaction Designer at R/GA Digital Studios and is currently developing an editorial project for the journal, New Observations, entitled, "New Observations in New Media Art".
He is co-founder of Digital Art Source (