Resistance is futile

The International Symposium on Electronic Art, co-chaired by new COFA Dean Professor Ross Harley, shows that digital art is a pervasive force.


The Woman and the Snowman

“When electronic art started 20 years ago, it was a really edgy concept that not everybody accepted, but now we’re saying ‘get over it’ because it’s a persistent and pervasive force in today’s world,” says newly appointed Dean of the College of Fine Arts, Professor Ross Harley.

Professor Harley will co-chair the 19th International Symposium on Electronic Art - highlighting the college’s commitment to innovation, experimentation and electronic art.

The showcase of electronic and media-based art works, presented in Sydney for only the second time, will examine the idea that resistance to electronic art is futile.

A practising artist and writer in the field of new media and popular culture, Professor Harley will bring his experience running the first Sydney-based ISEA in 1992, and more than 40 years media arts experience, to co-chairing ISEA2013.

“Twenty five years ago when the first ISEA was held in the Netherlands, digital electronic art was a novelty,” he said. “It’s a measure of the pace of change that electronic art today is ubiquitous – it’s seeping into every corner of our lives.”

COFA will host the Running the City exhibition showcasing Run Motherfucker Run, by Marnix de Nijs (Netherlands). The massive immersive installation, exhibited for the first time in the southern hemisphere, involves gallery visitors running on a huge treadmill to traverse international cityscapes.

The new Creative Robotics Lab, based in the National Institute of Experimental Art (NIEA), will showcase The Woman and the Snowman a beautiful, humanoid robot created by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University. NIEA will officially launch the Lab in July.

Professor Harley said symposiums like ISEA allow artists to experience “the cutting edge” of new art forms.

“ISEA provides the opportunity for artists to reflect on what is happening now, but also to prepare for what’s coming in the not too distant future,” he said.

 ISEA2013 is presented by the Australian Network for Art and Technology in conjunction with Vivid Sydney. It runs from 7 – 16 June at various Sydney venues, including COFA.

 Find COFA + ISEA events here

Listen to Professor Harley on Radio National Weekend Arts

Watch his interview on ABC Arts

Media contact: Fran Strachan, UNSW Media Office | 9385 8732 | 0429 416 070