Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

In a world first, the national science hub, the RiAus, will explore the not quite human through an art exhibition comprising artists’ works from America, Germany and Australia, in ‘The Uncanny Valley’ of the Science Exchange from Thursday 3rd June 2010.

Curated by Lynne Sanderson, “The Uncanny Valley” is inspired by the science hub’s autumn program of the anatomy and presents the human body with a touch of macabre humour.

The Uncanny Valley is a group exhibition that explores the aesthetics of misrepresentation of the human body and its impact on humans. It examines an idea developed in 1970 by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori. He developed a graph that plots emotional response against anthropomorphism of a robot. The lowest part of this graph is the ‘Uncanny Valley’, a place where the familiar is not familiar – where human representations are so close, yet so far. This is the natural habitat of mannequins and a place where zombies and corpses thrive.

Arabesque by German-based artist Peter William Holden will be a highlight of the exhibition. Exploring the lyrical aesthetics of robotics, the installation is comprised of life-sized human body parts, impaled upon steel, which move and sway to Stauss’ Blue Danube.

New York-based Australian Justine Cooper’s Living in Sim explores medical mannequins living out the drama of healthcare in a mix of media. The artwork includes a website, online social media, photography and video – the latter two on display at the RiAus throughout the exhibition – to explore the complexities present in the current healthcare environment and online social media.

Australian David Archer presents us with the results of his latest foray into the world of automata. Inspired by old-fashioned carnivals, his unique fabrications see art and mechanics combine to animate the inanimate. Acclaimed New York artist, Rona Pondick’s, quirky Jawbreakers sculpture will also be on display.

“From Justine Cooper’s medical mannequin soap opera to Peter William Holden’s lyrical robotic installation, the exhibition crosses art forms to look at representations of the body within medical and scientific points of view,” Ms Sanderson explains.

The Uncanny Valley is FREE and open to the public. The exhibition will launch on Thursday June 3 at 6pm at the RiAus Science Exchange. Arabesque will be at the RiAus from June 4–22 2010. Living in Sim, Jawbreakers and A Journey into the Mind will be open to the public until July 23rd 2010. The Science Exchange is located at 55 Exchange Place, Adelaide.

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The Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus)

The national science hub, the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) concentrates on ‘bringing science to people and people to science’. It creates real and virtual spaces in which people can listen, talk and think about science in all its shapes and forms and develop innovative and accessible ways of engaging the general community, raising scientific awareness and lifting the level of debate on critical issues arising from science and technology. The RiAus strives to highlight the importance of science in everyday life.

About Lynne Sanderson – Curator
Lynne Sanderson is a media artist, audiovisual performer, lecturer, researcher and technician. The Uncanny Valley is her curatorial debut.

As a media artist, Lynne’s artworks are interactive and involve the participation of the public. She has exhibited extensively including MTV Australia, the Museum of Modern Art NYC, ISEA95 Montreal, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Sydney Opera House, Biennale of Electronic Art Perth (BEAP) and the New Forms Festival, Vancouver, Canada.

Lynne has also led a parallel life as VJ Sustenance. Highlights have included playing alongside Dave Clarke and Aphex Twin and being resident at the Adelaide Festival’s Persian Garden. Lynne has created the v-tar, a visual controller in the shape of a flying v guitar. She is using this to experiment with the live implementation and performance of the audio-visual mediums. She has done AV sets in Melbourne for Share Outpost and at the opening of RiAus.

Lynne has been teaching media arts for many years and has been involved in the arts community on boards and as a peer assessor. She also has a part time job as a technician in a medical simulation unit.
Contact: [email protected]

About Peter William Holden (Germany) – Arabesque – robotics/audio
Peter William Holden was born in a decaying industrial town in Northern England in 1970 and from an early age he became fascinated with moving imagery, transformation and technology. Home computers of the 1980’s gave him a glimpse into the wonderful world of applied mathematics, with codes capable of generating fantastic patterns and noises. While around the same time Electro and Hip-Hop with its synthesized sound captured his soul and introduced him to the complex dance routines of break-dance; hence acquainting Peter with the beauty of choreographed physical movement. These and countless more experiences are incorporated in his installations in a collage of movement, light and sound. Peter claims “Within movement lies beauty but that very movement begets destruction”.

About Justine Cooper (Aus/USA) – Living in Sim – photography/DVD
Justine Cooper is an Australian-born interdisciplinary artist living and working in New York. She investigates the intersections between culture, science and medicine, moving between online media, video, installation, photography, as well as medical imaging technologies such as MRI, DNA sequencing and Ultrasound. Cooper renders each project in the way most befitting to her idea, whether minimal, baroque, or hyperrealist; she uses a variety of methods, including MRIs, large format photography, video, animation, web, or installation. While a polygamist when it comes to aesthetics and mediums she has continually been devoted to her inspiration from science and medicine. Though these subjects are at times institutional and abstract they also deal with very real, fundamental issues of our failing bodies and planet.

She is most interested in exploring the frictions found in the public and private ways these disciplines are a part of us, as individuals and as a culture. “It’s a complex relationship that has engrossed me for more than ten years. In my pursuit of some bright new form of art experience, I have come to believe that science, medicine, and art do mesh.”

Rona Pondick (USA) – Jawbreakers – sculpture
Rona Pondick was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1952. She studied at Yale University School of Art and received her MFA in 1977. She lives and works in New York City.

Rona Pondick’s work has been exhibited internationally and is in numerous public collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), The Morgan Library & Museum (New York, NY), Brooklyn Museum of Art (Brooklyn, NY), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, CA), Toledo Museum of Art (Toledo, OH), New Orleans Museum of Art, Sculpture Garden (New Orleans, LA), Fondation pour l’art contemporain Claudine et Jean-Marc Salomon (Annecy, France), Ursula Blickle Stiftung (Kraichtal, Germany), and The Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel).

Rona Pondick has lectured at many universities and institutions, including Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Yale University (New Haven, CT), Princeton University (Princeton, NJ), Columbia University (New York, NY), the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), Bezalel, Academy of Arts & Design Jerusalem (Jerusalem, Israel), and Palais des Beaux Arts de Lille (Lille, France).

David Archer (Aus) – A Journey into the Mind – interactive sculpture
David Archer was born in Victoria, Australia. At an early age he moved with his family to Adelaide, South Australia. His mechanical interests probably stem from his father, who worked as a mechanical engineer and also happened to be a part- time inventor!
Archer spent some of his youth on a farm in the Adelaide Hills and was often rewarded by trips to the local refuse tip where he would collect all forms of discarded gadgetry and machinery, which he would then take home, disassemble and analyse.
Archer moved from his metal trade as a Boilermaker-Welder to pursue his art interests as a ceramicist, completing his Ceramic Design degree with the University of South Australia in 1987. These studies gave him insight into conceptual design and experience in the manufacture of domestic ware and ceramic sculpture.

“Automato” (1993), Archer’s first solo exhibition saw a departure from his then mostly ceramic based work. “Primal Pillow” (1996), the Artist’s second solo exhibition saw further developments into the world of hand cranked automata, with many of the works “performing for their delighted audience”. His most recent work was presented in “Arcadia” (2002) which included several electric coin-operated fortune-telling machines, along with intriguing electric working models, such as “George” the mechanical drinking monkey.

David Archer currently works for the University of South Australia in the School of Art as a technical officer (Ceramic and Glass).

Julia Loughlin
P: (08) 8114 6166
M: 0422 281 915


uncanny, uncanney valley, art, art installation, Royal Institution of Australia, RiAus, science hub, science, Lynne Sanderson, anatomy, Masahiro Mori, human representations, Justine Cooper, Living in Sim, David Archer, A Journey into the Mind, Peter Willi



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