Art Gaze: Engaging with the Fringe of Electronics

magazine article

The new exhibition at eMerge Media Space at the School of Creative Arts, James Cook University is an eye and ear opening experience, presenting national and local artists engaged with electronic arts. Electrofringe in Townsville, the exhibition, runs from 20 May to 3 July 2011.

The exhibition and other events associated with Electrofringe in Townsville is the beginning of a new partnership between Electrofringe Ltd (an electronic arts organisation well-known for its annual festival in Newcastle as part of This Is Not Art festival), the School of Creative Arts at James Cook University and Cereal Box (a Renew Townsville initiative). Electrofringe in Townsville is the first project for Electrofringe’s new direction into touring exhibitions, workshops, performances, and artist talks to regional Australia, and is the 2011 satellite exhibition for Electrofringe.

On entry to the eMerge Media Space the viewer is immediately immersed in an array of artwork revealing the breadth and depth of electronic and new media art in Australia. The exhibition draws together an eclectic group of artists including Samuel Bruce (Western Sydney, NSW), Danny Ford (Toowoomba, QLD), Alexandra Gillespie (Canberra, ACT), Toydeath (Sydney, NSW), and local artists Robert Crispe (3rd year SoCA student), Adam Brown, and collaborative team Steven Campbell and Mitch Goodwin. From Bruce’s contained sound objects exploring death and deconstruction to Brown’s interactive political statement where the viewer can take away a copy of the data on cassette tape (remember to take a blank tape with you to the exhibition) - Electrofringe in Townsville is exciting, engaging and electronic.

Robert Crispe’s work, A Toxic Galax-sea is a remarkably resolved and sophisticated projection work considering the young artist is only half-way through his final year of the Bachelor of New Media Arts at JCU. The local component of the exhibition demonstrates the high quality of electronic and new media art in Townsville and the potential the new degree can offer artists wanting to engage with evolving media art forms.

In addition to the exhibition, Electrofringe jointly organised a two day workshop at Cereal Box where sixteen participants worked with Nick Wishart from Toydeath (a circuit bending Sydney-based band with an international cult following) to create their very own circuit bent instruments from toys on the 21-22 May. Nick also delivered an artist talk at the opening
of the exhibition at eMerge Media Space about the various circuit bending hotspots around the world and how the everyday can be transformed into creative and inspiring instruments for noise making.

Both events demonstrate the potential engagement electronic media can engender in new audiences. The bourgeoning partnership between Electrofringe and the School of Creative Arts is committed to building on this foundation in the forthcoming years.

Cara-Ann Simpson is the Co-Director and Co-Producer of Electrofringe and is currently based in Melbourne. Cara- Ann came up to Townsville to open the exhibition at eMerge Media Space, JCU, and to deliver lectures to students at the School of Creative Arts. This Is Not Art festival and Electrofringe festival will take place from 29 September to 3 October 2011in Newcastle, NSW. For more information about Electrofringe: www.electrofringe.net.


Article published in Art Gaze, Winter Issue 2011. Art Gaze is Townsville's local art magazine, this issue is available at: Art Gaze Winter 2011.