Art + Science synergy

TERN congratulates Dr Keith Armstrong, who was announced by the Australian Network for Art & Technology (ANAT) on 14 February 2024 as one of its returning ANAT Synapse 2024 artists in residence. With thirty years of experimental work focusing on social and ecological justice, Keith’s participative practices envision collective paths to sustainable futures. 

The residency enables Keith to present his multi-layered project, Forest Art Intelligence (FAI) at TERN’s Samford Peri-urban SuperSite on the northern edge of Brisbane in Queensland, thus providing TERN with an opportunity to highlight to its community the key roles that art and artists play alongside science and public policy in advancing, reflecting, and shaping solutions to environmental problems.

The FAI project will be undertaken in collaboration with Dr David Tucker and Dr Gabrielle Lebbinck from Queensland University of Technology’s Samford Ecological Research Facility, and Dr Eleanor Velasquez, TERN’s Education and Training Manager.

The proposed AI site at QUT's Samford Ecological Research Facility (SERF)

Keith’s project explores the integration of art and science in regenerating forests, aiming to develop Art Intelligences (AI) that grow symbiotically with the forest, actively benefiting its health.

“Our aim is to understand how to develop art forms capable of growing and evolving alongside a regenerating forest, whilst also actively benefiting that forest’s health. We envisage embedded artworks capable of slowly finding, and then occupying, their own intelligent ‘niches’, within the forest’s ecology - a speculative form we call an Art Intelligence.”

The FAI project involves sustainably built, interconnected installations using “lively materials” and data sensors, contributing to the ecological system. Keith’s vision aligns with public engagement, ecological science, botany, data science, and sustainable media arts. Outcomes will be presented at ISEA 2024 (International Symposium of Electronic Art) in Brisbane and online.

ANAT is seen as a leader in the field of experimental arts and cross-disciplinary practice with science and technology partners. Through residencies, symposia, and workshops, ANAT plays a crucial role in Australia’s artistic and cultural ecosystem. Central to ANAT’s ethos is the importance of storytelling and collaboration. We will provide progress photos of Keith’s AI installation in future newsletters.

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