Symposium: Harnessing Energies in the Arts & Humanities 12 September 2019

Energies in the Arts, the new collection edited by Professor Douglas Kahn (UNSW Art & Design) and published by MIT Press, explores the pluralistic concepts of energies—scientific, cultural, spiritual, ecological – as they occur in the arts, history and theory. To celebrate the release of this book, a symposium of scholars whose research intersects with, utilizes, and explores various concepts of energy, will present and discuss their work with the public. The symposium is convened by Dr Heather Contant and moderated by Mitchell Ryan.

The symposium will be followed by a book launch by Joyce Hinterding (Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney) and performance by Peter Blamey entitled Rare Earth Orbits.

Thursday, 12 September 2019
Symposium – 1:00pm to 5:00pm

Black Box, UNSW Art and Design
Corner of Oxford Street and Greens Road

This event is sponsored by the Sound, Energies and Environments (SEE) Research Group and UNSW Art & Design. Image: Peter Blamey, UTS Gallery, 2017. Photo: David Lawrey, courtesy UTS Arts


Panel 1: Dr Andrew Belletty, Dr Heather Contant, Dr Emily Morandini (1:00PM to 2:45PM)

Panel 2: Dr Su Ballard, Associate Professor Jennifer L. Biddle, Dr Lindsay Kelley (3:15PM to 5:00PM)

Download Symposium Program


Dr Susan Ballard is an art historian specialising in the ways in which art intersects with big ideas about the environment, technology, and cultural politics. She writes on contemporary art and media with a particular concern for the diverse ways that artists negotiate the ecological and social transformations of the twenty-first century. Recent publications have focused on artistic and other cultural manifestations of species extinctions, energy, natural disaster, geology and landscape in the Anthropocene, as realised at the intersection of the environmental humanities and cultural practices.

Dr Andrew Belletty is an Indian-born Australian sound artist whose research experiments with the vibro-tactile materiality of acoustic energies.He creates intimate, multi-sensory listening experiences by redesigning audio-visual material into flexible, multilayered forms, which explore Indigenous concepts of healing through listening. A founding member of acclaimed Australian band Yothu Yindi, Andrew also works internationally as a cinematic sound designer with hundreds of screen credits to his name. Andrew holds a PhD in Visual Anthropology, Art, Design & Media from the National Institute for Experimental Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Associate Professor Jennifer L. Biddle is Director of Visual Anthropology & Visual Culture Lab and Senior Research Fellow in the National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA), UNSW Art & Design. She is founding Director of Visual Anthropology & Visual Culture, an international program specialising in Indigenous and Asia Pacific research, one of only a few programs in Australia to support ethnographic and practice-led research as a basis for creative and critical research innovation in the arts.

Participating in and researching the history of communities that come together to explore the possibilities of electromagnetic media drives Dr Heather Contant’s scholarly and artistic research practices. She lectures in media art and audio production at the University of New South Wales | Art & Design in Sydney, Australia, and her writings appear in publications, such as Leonardo Music Journal, the Journal of Sonic Studies, and the book, Transnationalizing Radio Research: New Approaches to an Old Medium. Her doctoral thesis entitled, Electromagnetic Constellations: Walter Benjamin and the Collectivist Tendencies in Radio won the 2018 Dean’s award for Excellence in Higher Degree Research.

Working in the kitchen, Dr Lindsay Kelley’s art practice and scholarship explore how the experience of eating changes when technologies are being eaten. Her published work can be found in journals including parallax, Transgender Studies Quarterly, Angelaki, and Environmental Humanities. Her first book is Bioart Kitchen: Art, Feminism and Technoscience (London: IB Tauris, 2016). Kelley is Senior Lecturer at UNSW Sydney in the faculty of Art & Design as well as Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, the School of Philosophical and Historical Enquiry, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, in association with Sydney Environment Institute, the University of Sydney. She is the recipient of an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award.

Dr Emily Morandini is a Sydney based artist, educator and researcher. Her art practice explores the junction of materials and electrical energy. She is particularly interested in the fundamental chemical, physical, and environmental processes that underlie modern electrical devices; employing handmade crafting techniques as a means of identifying and re-examining otherwise heavily encoded technological objects. She has exhibited in galleries such as 55 Sydenham Rd, SNO, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Campbelltown Arts Centre, First Draft Gallery, Gaffa, ICAN, and Canberra Contemporary Artspace. She has performed for the Underbelly Arts festival, What Is Music? festival, the Nownow festival, and High Reflections.