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Some of Australia’s most accomplished artists working across artforms have been celebrated today at a special ceremony to announce the 13 recipients of the Australia Council Fellowships.

Australia Council Chair Rupert Myer AM presented the recipients with their fellowships in front of their family and colleagues at the Melbourne Recital Centre this morning.

The prestigious fellowships were awarded in two categories Established artists, who receive $100,000 for one year, and Early Career artists, who receive $60,000 over two years.

The six artists to receive the Established Fellowships are:

  • Jon Rose (NSW)
  • Alexander Davies (NSW)
  • Liza Lim (Vic)
  • James Hullick (Vic)
  • Maria Fernanda Cardosa (NSW)
  • Claire Healy (NSW)

The seven artists to receive the Early Career Fellowships are:

  • Zoe Pepper (WA)
  • Lara Thoms (Vic)
  • Michaela Davies (NSW)
  • Dale Gorfinkel (NSW)
  • Tintin Wulia (Qld)
  • Julian Day (NSW)
  • David Finnigan (ACT)

Mr Myer congratulated the recipients of this year’s fellowships and praised the creative and innovative ideas they presented in their applications.

These fellowships differ from other Australia Council Fellowships as we ask the artists to address interdisciplinary approaches, and they are designed to recognise both early career and established artists who have already made a substantial contribution to Australian culture, Mr Myer said.

The artists receiving this year’s fellowships clearly demonstrate how their interdisciplinary projects will enhance their artistic practice, while exposing the community to ground-breaking work.

These fellowships support the artists to develop their arts practice, experiment, research and create new ways to present their works and further their artistic ambitions.

Having the time and financial security to focus on their work gives artists the freedom to innovate, experiment, and push boundaries.

Mr Myer said the Australia Council was committed to supporting the development of Australia’s creative talent in all artforms, including interdisciplinary and experimental arts.

The Australia Council has supported interdisciplinary arts for many years through various grants programs and in particular through our Emerging and Experimental Arts section, Mr Myer said.

It provides funding to artists exploring and experimenting with new forms and processes of making art, including hybrid arts and cross-disciplinary practice such as art/science.


Australia Council Fellowships Established

Jon Rose (NSW)

The central theme of my Jon’s work since 1977 has been the creation of a total art-form about the violineverything possible to do with, on, and about this iconic instrument. Along with an international career as performer and multimedia artist, the context for his activities remains firmly in the cultural vernacular (e.g. projects involving sport such as Pursuit) and the physical environment of Australia (e.g. projects involving outback artefacts such as fences and wrecks). His creative work has been performed, heard, and seen at major festivals of new music, performance, and media in 40 countries, appeared on over 100 albums, been transmitted through 30 major radiophonic productions worldwide, and been broadcast by several state television companies in Europe.

For his Fellowship Jon will devise 8 new installation performance works to be the latest additions to his own invention, the Rosenberg Museum which will be exhibited in six countries including Australia. These new artifacts include a data driven violin robot, a bowing machine, a new long-neck 12-strong cluster tone viola, and Violin Weather – a modified string quartet.

Alexander Davies (NSW)

Alex Davies is a Sydney artist internationally recognised for his innovative media arts practice. Davies’ practice is at its essence highly interdisciplinary drawing from the areas of electronic arts, music, installation, cinema, photography and theatre. Since 2005, his complex media arts installations routinely involved working with a wide variety of performers, writers, dramaturges, artists and programmers. He recently completed a practice-led PhD examining the relationship between the techniques of stage magic and the creation of illusion in media arts.

His proposed fellowship program is based upon two strands of interdisciplinary arts practice through collaboration with global leaders in neuroscience and transmedia development. These include exploration of new modes of narrative development and radical new approaches to visual media. Both these areas of investigation form the core of his highly innovative and engaging media arts works. The fellowship will enable Alex Davies to significantly expand his existing contribution to electronic arts and facilitate research, development and collaboration across disciplines both nationally and internationally.

Liza Lim (Vic)

Liza Lim’s compositional work was recently praised in The New Yorker by Alex Ross who wrote: she holds a commanding position in international music, her intricately sensuous scores welcomed both at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and at German new-music festivals. Yet she shows an acute sensitivity to the local and particular, to voices on the margins of a smoothly integrated global culture Lim exemplifies a younger generation of composers who have revivified modernism by kicking away its technocratic fa√ßade and heightening its visceral power.’ Lim’s compositions are published by Casa Ricordi (Milan, London & Berlin) and on CDs with Hat Hut, ABC-Classics, Neos, WERGO and Dischi Ricordi.

The Creative Australia fellowship would facilitate the research & development for two large-scale projects: an opera Tree of Codes’ based on the exquisite book by Jonathan Safran Foer and an installation work looking at some hidden aspects of women’s culture in China. She will collaborate with musicians of Ensemble musikFabrik, Opera Cologne and ZKM to develop new software tools and instrumental techniques for the opera which will be premiered in early 2016.

James Hullick (Vic)

James is a sound artist, sculptor, composer, curator, community arts worker, published researcher and artistic director of JOLT and The Click Clack Project. Terrains of sonic excellence that James works through include: electro-acoustic theatre/dance music, 24-hour solo piano performance, recursive compositional techniques, perceptual music making, real time scores, and community arts projects.

Working with sound and communities has helped James understand how the (musical) instrument and the user can become one embodied entity; and how the artist, the artwork and those experiencing the artwork can suspend bodily division and exist as one unbroken embodied unity of perceptual insight. During his Fellowship, focused studio time will enable James to expand his creative language across all the senses (not just sound), enabling him to more deeply explore the nuances of human perception. James will be able to expand abilities in sculpture; machine making; filmmaking; and interactive computer programming that have been emerging through his gallery exhibition practice and the creation of shows such as THE NIS.

Maria Fernanda Cardosa (NSW)

Maria Fernanda Cardoso is a contemporary artist born in Colombia, who lives and works in Sydney. She holds a PhD from Sydney University in art and science (2013) and is now a world’s expert in the reproductive morphology of animals and plants. Her multi-year project MoCO (the Museum of Copulatory Organs, 2008-2012) was one of the highlights of the 18th Biennale of Sydney, attracting over a quarter million visitors and enormous media attention including a half hour ABC ARTSCAPE documentary. MoCO was well received by scientists, art critics and the general public as the project demonstrated Cardoso’s ability to effectively and aesthetically communicate science through the use of sculpture and the moving image.

Her Fellowship program, Dancing With Spiders, is an art, science and technology project, which aims to document and display irrefutable visual and auditory proof of artistic expression in the tiniest of Australian spiders: the Maratus jumping spiders. These 3-4 mm long spiders dance and make subsonic vibrations, inaudible to the human ear but revealed to us through the use of laser vibrometer technologies in what could be called music. Using large-scale multi-screen HD Projections Cardosa will make a video art installation featuring the different mating dances and looks of several of the Maratus species, including the amplified sounds they make.

Claire Healy (NSW)

Claire Healy along with long-time collaborator Sean Cordeiro have been creating work together since the 1990s. Avid travellers, their peripatetic lives inform much of their practice as they explore ideas of home and transience, and engage with issues such as real estate, permutations of space and modes of living. They are best known for transforming everyday objects into large-scale and provocative sculptures and installations. Through the presentation of the deconstructed and the reassembled Healy and Cordeiro literally unpack notions of domicide, and make us question our own materialistic tendencies and the impermanence of occupation.

Through the Fellowship Claire plans to explore the act of destruction and its transition to creation, with the focus on the performer rather than the object. Creating a work that is time-based will be a new area of exploration for her and the fellowship is a great opportunity to make this leap, and achieve a quality of production fitting for her vision. During the Fellowship Claire will create two works that will inform an exploration of the process of producing time-based work in collaboration with performers.

Australia Council Fellowships Early Career

Zoe Pepper (WA)

Zoe is a Perth based interdisciplinary artist in her first 10 years of a practice that spans theatre, live art, film and participatory gaming. Through a rigorous artistic practice Zoe has established a reputation as an artist with potential. She drives every element of her work from writing, design and structural development through to direction, technical refinement and the creation of audio scores.

Through her Fellowship Zoe will undertake research and development to inform the creation of a new project. Her research will take her to the UK and the US to work with other artists experimenting with ideas around participatory gaming. The conceptual development of a new project will include a period of practical experimentation in which audio material will be developed and trialled with test audiences. Her research will be assisted through conversations with Perth based software development company, Gramercy Studios, and programming specialists based at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Arts.

Lara Thoms (Vic)

Lara is an artist who has been working for seven years in the field of socially engaged and participatory art. Her inter-disciplinary practice is centred around performative  experiences, often utilising video, photography and installation. Her work is always context responsive, drawing on a site or issue that allows for collaborative relationships and presentation models. Lara is interested in the areas of participation when artists and non-artists come together, looking at both frictions and shared experiences. Her work has been presented at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Performance Space and Next Wave Festival.

Her Fellowship program over the next two years will focus on research development and presentation of major projects working with new and unexpected particpants. She will continue to collaborate with groups Field Theory and Aphids as well as expand her solo practice. Lara will make work for major institutions on a scale she has never attempted before, including creating a street procession with up to 1000 participants and a new project at the Royal Exhibition Building. Each project will be drawn together through a common theme of inviting audiences to reconsider existing social hierarchies.

Michaela Davies (NSW)

Michaela is an artist who maintains a multi-disciplinary practice across installation, sound, performance and video. A doctor of psychology, her work is informed by an interest in the role of psychological and physical agency in creative processes, and how obstruction can inform both individual development and creative outcomes.

During the course of her Fellowship, Michaela will explore performance as a mode of hypothesis testing, drawing on the idea that contemporary participatory art practices can be viewed as performative research. She will investigate the use of technology to extend human capabilities in composition and musical performance, explore the use of obstruction to examine how struggle, effort, and even failure shape a performance, and examine the way physical or psychological obstruction can determine both an individual musical outcome and the trajectory of an artist’s development.

Dale Gorfinkel (NSW)

Dale is an artist with a number of practices spanning improvisation, instrument building, sound installation, multi-instrumental music and outdoor performance. These practices are intimately connected and continuously inform and inspire each other. Dale is passionate about bringing creative communities together & shifting perceived boundaries of scenes, styles & artforms. His work reflects an awareness of the dynamic nature of culture & the value of listening as mode of knowing people & places.

Over the course of the Fellowship Dale will focus on the creative development of elements of his practice including foot-pump powered interactive installations, kinetic sound and light sculptures, and new musical collaborations.

Tintin Wulia (Qld)

Tintin’s art probes into the geopolitical borders that segregate our globalising world. She bases her inquiries in an artistic research informed by critical geopolitics. Her approach to the mediums and materials is also interdisciplinary. With her architectural engineering and music (film scoring) training she works across mediums, fusing installation, mural, video, sound and performance amongst others. She hacks and repurposes ready-mades like IKEA products, neodymium magnets, surveillance cameras and arcade game machines, factoring the materials’ original systems into her work. Because the contemporary border is inseparable from the economic globalisation of production, the issues of manual labour and alternative cultures like the Do-It-Yourself/DIY movement are also relevant.

The Fellowship will allow Tintin to focus on developing her process-based participatory art practice that has engaged a large number of diverse participants and created seeds for cross-border networks, to generate future dialogues on a global scene with strong local contexts. Through a series of international residencies, periods of research and the development of new works for exhibitions, she will explore methods to radically amplify her work’s socio-political networks, linking the socio-economic processes of production, distribution and consumption comprehensively. While her research is interdisciplinary, her primary field is art, where critical discourse is advanced through concretising the intangible. She aims to interweave methodology, mediums and materials, finding new ways to present processes beyond mere documentation.

Julian Day (NSW)

Julian Day is an artist, composer, writer and broadcaster. His work, although primarily centred on sound, also includes a range of media including installation, video, text and performance. As an advocate for new music and contemporary art Julian also presents and produces programs on ABC radio and writes regularly for a range of media outlets.  He attempts to create simple yet evocative works through largely ephemeral means in which existing objects, architectures and social situations are repurposed. In particular he disperses homogeneous sound to explore the acoustic, architectural and relational properties of such non-traditional spaces as railway sheds, marketplaces, laneways, parks and lakes.

Julian will spend his Fellowship researching and consolidating existing artistic interests – community engagement and open participation, critiquing traditional scores and instrumental techniques and bridging the visual art and music worlds. He will work with mentors in New York and collaborate with performers, galleries and community participants in Australia, the USA and UK. These activities will further integrate his composition and visual art output into a well-honed artistic vision, broadening connections to other artists and institutions and laying the groundwork for future projects.

David Finnigan (ACT)

David is a writer, producer, theatre-maker and performer. He works extensively across disciplines to create a diverse body of work, from interactive performance to theatre to spoken word. David also has extensive experience as a producer and curator of experimental and cross-artform performance work. He has worked as a producer at the Battersea Arts Centre in London and for the HERE Arts Center in New York. In 2009, David cofounded and directed the Crack Theatre Festival, a national festival and forum for experimental performance in Newcastle as part of This Is Not Art. In 2011 he founded the You Are Here Festival, an annual multi-arts festivals taking place in shopfronts and found spaces in Canberra city. In 2013 he co-curated and facilitated the TippingPoint Australia climate-arts conference as part of the Australian Theatre Forum.

The Fellowship will continue David’s development as a playwright, science-theatre artist, spoken word performer, festival producer and curator with a focus on interactive and audience-driven work. The Fellowship will allow David to further his professional development by undertaking key multi-year projects with mentors as well as the chance to learn skills and access opportunities that are not otherwise available to an early career artist.

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