13 October–2 November 2018
Wednesday–Sunday 11am-6pm
Old Customs House, 8 Phillimore St, Fremantle, WA
Curated by Tarsh Bates

“This Mess We’re In”  is an art exhibition that entangles queer feminist ecologies with Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s seminal exploration of life creation and re-formation.

The exhibition presents 26 experimental artworks by first nations, national and international artists and forms a unique ecology of queer feminist perspectives on Shelley’s legacy. The artworks emerge from art/science practices that explore the relationships between life and technology, emerging, resisting, reforming and responding to the political, ethical and material implications of manipulating life. The exhibition expresses untold legacies of Frankenstein, creatures that emerge from and escape the creation and control of life. It draws on the themes of fragmentation, emergence, reproduction and ethics that are the cornerstone of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Given that Frankenstein was written by the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, its 200th anniversary is particularly relevant to draw together feminist explorations of the legacy of Frankenstein.

The artworks explore the diversity and complexity of life, escaping individualism and undermining utilitarianism. They reveal the messiness of life and technology, our mess-mates and the messes we are in because of our manipulations.


Abhishek Hazra, Ai Hasegawa, Alicia King, Alize Zorlutuna, Cat Jones, Hege Tapio, Helah Milroy, Helen Pynor, Jaden Hastings, Karen Casey, Kathy High, Katie Wularni West, Kirsten Hudson, Lindsay Kelley, Mary Maggic, Mike Bianco, Pony Express, Rachel Mayeri, Sarah Hermanutz and Nenad Popov, Shelley Jackson, Špela Petrič, Svenja Kratz, Sue Hauri-Downing, Tarsh Bates, Verena Friedrich and WhiteFeather Hunter.


Abishek Hazra

Abhishek Hazra uses video, performance and text with an ironic fascination for theoretical debates around knowledge production and historiography. His recent series of lecture performances explore questions around affect, precarity and provincial cosmopolitanism. Abhishek has exhibited widely, including Kochi Muziris Biennale, Experiment Marathon Reykjavik and MAXXI Museum, Rome. He has been an artist-in-residence in various residences including Gasworks, London and SymbioticA, Perth. Abhishek has also been the recipient of multiple awards including the Sanskriti Award for Visual Art.

Ai Hasegawa

I use art and design to present a solution to the challenges encountered in our daily lives. At the same time, the solution itself questions our perception of living in this world. Having studied computer graphic animation and interactive media art at IAMAS, Japan. After moving to London, I began working as an animator, character designer and illustrator. At the same time, I worked as a designer for audience participatory interactive public art at Haque Design and Research. In 2012, I graduated with an MA in Interactions Design at The Royal College of Art. Recent works are “The Extreme Environment Love Hotel” series and “I wanna deliver a shark…” series. Assistant researcher at MIT Media Lab, from 2014 Sep until 2016 Sep. From 2017 April, become a special researcher at the University of Tokyo.

Alicia King

Alicia King is an interdisciplinary artist exploring perceptions of technology and biology. Recent projects respond to a global engagement with new technology that places us eternally on the brink of the ‘future’. This idea preoccupies King’s ongoing practice, exploring the transformative potential of biological matter in humans and the wider environment. Her practice has examined tools of biological technologies, as a way to explore contemporary perspectives of the human body as a conceptually loaded, transformative material.

She holds a PhD for Transformations of the Flesh; Rupturing Embodiment through Biotechnology, an artistic exploration of relationships between biotech practices and the physical, ethical and ritual body. The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA, NYC published Alicia’s work The Vision Splendid in their recent publication Bio Design: Nature + Science + Creativity. Alicia is recipient of numerous grants, awards and residencies throughout Australia, Asia and the USA. Her work is held in a number of collections including the MONA Museum and Fehily Contemporary Collection.

Alize Zorlutuna

Alize Zorlutuna works with installation, video, performance, and material culture, to investigate themes concerning identity, queer sexuality, settler colonial relationships to land, culture and history, as well as intimacy with the non-human, and technology. Her work aims to activate interstices where seemingly incommensurate elements intersect. Drawing on archival as well as practice-based research, the body and its sensorial capacities are central to her work.

Alize has presented her work in galleries, artist-run centers and community spaces including: Dorris McCarthy Gallery, Interaccess Gallery, VIVO Media Arts Centre, Satellite Gallery, Audain Gallery, Access Gallery, and Toronto Free Gallery, as well as internationally at The New School: Parsons (NY), Mind Art core (Chicago) and Club Cultural Matienzo (Argentina). She received her MFA from Simon Frasier University and her BFA from OCAD University. Awards and honours include Emerging Artist Grants from the Toronto and Ontario Arts Councils, Visual Arts Project grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, as well as Media Arts Project Grants from the Toronto Arts Council. She currently teaches courses in Sculpture/ Installation, as well as performance and hybrid media practices at OCAD University in Toronto.

Cat Jones

Cat Jones is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, researcher thinking across social, biological, chemical, multi-species and spiritual realms. Investigating cultural, medical and environmental politics through the subversion of science, history, language and the senses, Jones activates speculative fictions, futures and cycles of incongruence through transformation. Known for her immersive experiences, she creates live, illusory, media, site-specific, olfactory and edible art with neuroscientists, physiotherapists, entomologists, botanists, biologists and gastronomists.

Commissions include Scent of Sydney for Sydney Festival, Insecta Delecta for The Wired Lab, Century’s Breath for Vitalstatistix (winner of the 2016 Sadakichi Art and Olfaction Award), Anatomy’s Confection for Proximity Festival and Somatic Drifts.

Her Creative Australia Fellowship 2012-2013 was for interdisciplinary research on plant signaling and adaptive behavior, and the history of women in botany. Jones is an affiliate artist-in-residence researcher with leading Australian neuroscientists at the Sansom Institute, Body and Mind University South Australia, alumni of SymbioticA and Synapse and is currently Create NSW Performing Arts and Music Fellow.

Hege Tapio

Tapio’s artistic practice has pursued the interest in emerging media interconnecting art, new technology and science. With a kitchen bench DIY attitude and through artistic practice she has been inspired to how apparatuses and new technology opens to renewed interpretation, creative misuse and critical thinking. Art driven by curiosity, knowledge, ability to convey and contextualize aspects of technology and research, both through speculation and critical attitude, have been the basis for many of the projects.

With her latest work Humanfuel, Tapio problematizes biofuel as an alternative to fossil fuel, and she scrutinizes how we humans view ourselves in an ecological perspective. With the slogan “Get Thin – Go Fast,” Tapio claims that in the process of searching for new solutions to the energy crisis and for alternative fuels, we have overlooked how we ourselves may constitute an invaluable resource. Tapio is also the founder and artistic manager of i/o/lab – Center for Future Art where she has established and curated Article biennial – a festival for the electronic and unstable art. Art encompassing and intersecting with technology and science has been the main objective for the development of projects for i/o/lab.

Helah Milroy

Helah Milroy is a descendant of the Palyku people, Port Headland/Marble Bar. Her Indigenous heritage is not her main focus of her artwork; however its influence is evident within her methodological approach, reference to Indigenous knowledge and concern for the natural world, alongside her desire to overcome ‘otherness’. Her work is informed by her background in Philosophy, Gandhian Non-Violence, Theatre Performance, Environmental Conservation and more recently Biological Arts. She is currently exploring the balance between Feminist, Indigenous and Christian worldviews in terms of the tension between positive and negative theology, with regard to the practice of Synthetic Biology.

Helen Pynor

Helen Pynor is an artist whose practise explores philosophically and experientially ambiguous zones such as the life-death border. Her work is informed by in-depth residencies in scientific institutions, most recently The Francis Crick Institute, London; The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden; and The Heart and Lung Transplant Unit, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney. Pynor frequently collaborates with members of the broader community whose embodied experiences connect with the themes of her work.

Pynor has exhibited widely nationally and internationally including at The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts; The National Centre for Contemporary Art, Russia; Science Gallery Dublin; Science Gallery London; FACT, Liverpool UK; Wellcome Collection, London; and The Australian Centre for Photography. She has received an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica, Linz, and national awards in Australia. Pynor holds a Bachelor of Science (1st Class Hons), a Bachelor of Visual Arts, and a PhD.

Pynor lives and works in Sydney and London.

Jaden JA Hastings

Jaden J. A. Hastings research fuses and folds together the fields of biology (tissue engineering, genomics), informatics (machine learning), and new media art. She is alumna of New York University, Harvard University, the University of Oxford, and Central Saint Martins with advanced degrees in Biology, Bioinformatics, and Fine Art. Jaden’s career in scientific research spans over a decade, and is grounded in her longstanding roots as a biohacker. Jaden has been an invited to be artist-in-residence for the Story of Light Festival in Goa, the Khoj Workshops in Delhi, SymbioticA in Perth, the Lumen Residency in Atina, Italy, Ausstellingsraum Klingental in Basel, St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, and the Science Gallery Melbourne. Her work has been exhibited in venues across Europe, India, Japan, North America, and Australia.

Karen Casey

Karen Casey is an Indigenous Australian interdisciplinary artist who explores intersections between the arts, science and society. She has a broad and diverse creative practice spanning painting, video, installation, public art and performance. Her experimentations with a range of analogue and digital technologies and collaborations with both arts and non-arts professionals from diverse fields and backgrounds has given rise to some original interactive and hybrid art forms. While her work has taken many forms, thematically her approach more often involves the mind and interplays between consciousness and physicality. Karen has exhibited in numerous significant curatorial and overseas touring exhibitions since the late 1980’s and her work is widely represented in National galleries and public collections in Australia and internationally. She is the creator of Global Mind Project, a multi-faceted and evolving art and cognitive neuroscience initiative and Let’s Shake a public art participation project for indigenous reconciliation, peace and unity.

Katie Wularni West

Katie West is an emerging artist and Yindjibarndi woman who has lived her life on Noongar Yued and Noongar Whadjuk countries. West’s artistic practice is shaped by her family’s experience of the Stolen Generations, studies in sociology and work experience in the area of Indigenous health.

Kathy High

Kathy High (USA) is an interdisciplinary artist working in the areas of technology, science, speculative fiction and art. She produces videos and installations posing queer and feminist inquiries into areas of medicine/bio-science, and animal/interspecies collaborations. She hosts bio/ecology+art workshops and is creating an urban nature center in North Troy (NATURE Lab) with media organization The Sanctuary for Independent Media. High is Professor of Video and New Media in the Department of Arts, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. She teaches documentary and experimental digital video production, history and theory, as well as biological arts.

Kirsten Hudson

Kirsten Hudson is a trans-disciplinary artist, writer and academic based in Western Australia, where she is employed as a lecturer in the School of Media, Creative Arts, and Social Inquiry, and the School of Design and Built Environment at Curtin University. Her research focuses on the philosophies, histories, and materialities of the body, informed by gender studies, queer theory, and trauma/memory studies. Creating performance, film, and objects, her practice critically resists and subverts normalising representations, constructions and perceptions of subjectivity, sociality and embodiment. Her current research projects materially and textually explore how new media/machine interfaces discipline gesture, affect and sensation, with a particular focus on the potential of the art object to activate sensations, affect, and/or emotions that question western frames of reference and perception.

Lindsay Kelley

Working in the kitchen, Lindsay Kelley’s art practice and scholarship explore how the experience of eating changes when technologies are being eaten. Her first book is Bioart Kitchen: Art, Feminism and Technoscience (London: IB Tauris, 2016). Bioart Kitchen emerges from her work at the University of California Santa Cruz (Ph.D in the History of Consciousness and MFA in Digital Art and New Media). Kelley is a Lecturer in Art and Design at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and Co-Investigator with the KIAS funded Research-Creation and Social Justice CoLABoratory: Arts and the Anthropocene at the University of Alberta, Canada.

Mary Maggic

Mary Maggic is a non-binary artist working at the intersection of biotechnology, cultural discourse, and civil disobedience. Their work spans documentary video, scientific methodology, public workshopology, performance, and large scale installation. Maggic’s most recent projects Open Source Estrogen and Estrofem! Lab generate DIY protocols for the extraction and detection of estrogen hormone from bodies and environments, demonstrating its micro-performativity and potential for mutagenesis, i.e. gender-hacking. They hold a BSA in Biological Science and Art from Carnegie Mellon University and a MS in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT Media Lab and have had the privilege to exhibit and/or perform at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), OK Center (Linz), Haus der elektronischen Kunst (Basel), Jeu de Paume (Paris), Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), and Spring Workshop (Hong Kong).

Mike Bianco

Mike Bianco is an artist, curator, researcher, activist, cook, and beekeeper. Bianco’s art practice is invested in socially engaged art, and focuses on issues of politics, environment, sustainability, community activism, energy decline, and the impending “century of crisis.” Bianco’s work has been exhibited in numerous venues, ranging from the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, in Western Australia, to the Kenpoku Art Festival in Ibaraki, Japan.

Pony Express

Pony Express is a c​reative entity led by ​a​r​tists​ Ian Sinclair and Loren Kronemyer.  Through their pandrogynous collaborative process, Pony Express work across platforms of media art, live art, group devising methodology and an antidisciplinary approach to create immersive alternate realities. Their work reflects themes of environment, apocalypse, and the ​post-sustainable ​future. Pony Express are currently developing the large scale works Epoch Wars and Raft of the Medusa, and have recently presented several site-responsive works including Tentaculum and Sixth Wave

They have recently been featured in: Forum of the Future 2017 (Porto, Portugal), Santarcangelo Festival 2017 (Italy), DARK MOFO by MONA 2017 (Hobart), Underbelly Festival 2017 (Sydney), Reckless Acts by PICA 2017 (Perth), Climate Century 2017 and ADHOCRACY 2016 at Vitalstatistix (Adelaide), Radical Ecologies at PICA (Perth); Next Wave Festival 2016 (Melbourne), Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art by Performance Space 2016 (Sydney), The Conversational Cosmos curated by Laura MacLean at Westspace (Melbourne).

Rachael Mayeri

Rachel Mayeri is an LA-based artist working at the intersection of art and science. Her videos, installations, and writing projects explore topics ranging from the history of special effects to the human animal. The multi-year project “Primate Cinema” investigates the boundary between human and non-human primates in a series of video experiments. This work has shown at Sundance, Berlinale, Ars Electronica, and dOCUMENTA (13). Recent commissions include the environmental art project “Critters Speak” about the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem seven years after Deepwater Horizon, with Brandon Ballengée, funded by National Academy of Sciences Keck Futures Institute; the animated opera “Ofeo Nel Canale Alimentare” about the digestive tract, supported by Imagine Science Films, and “The Jollies” an animated documentary about the primatologist Alison Jolly. As professor of media studies at Harvey Mudd College, she teaches courses such as Animal Media Studies, Art & Science, and Stories from the Anthropocene.

Sarah Hermanutz and Nenad Popov

Sarah Hermanutz is a Canadian artist working at the intersections of performance, technology, and ecology. Her sculptures, installations, and performance experiments are preoccupied with wetlands, amphibious creatures, and the mysteries of social cognition. Together with dancers, audiences, musicians, and other human/non-human ‘props’, she explores confusion, affection, vulnerability, survival, horror, terror, desire, and the aesthetic seductions of myth-making.  Her artistic research is based in Berlin at Lacuna Lab, an art and technology collective she co-founded in 2015, and in the media arts and design department of Bauhaus University Weimar. Her performances and projects have been presented across Europe, the USA, and Canada.

Nenad Popov is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is heavily inspired by scientific concepts and methods.  He specializes in live performances and cinematic installations, many of which include living organisms. He got his Master degree at the Art Science department of the Royal Conservatory in the Hague, Netherlands. Since 2013 he lives and works in Berlin. He showed his work at the festivals such as Ars Electronica in Linz and STATE experience science in Berlin.

Shelley Jackson

Shelley Jackson was extracted from the bum leg of a water buffalo in 1963 in the Philippines and grew up complaining in Berkeley, California. Bravely overcoming a chronic pain in her phantom limb, she extracted an AB in art from Stanford and an MFA in creative writing from Brown. She has spent most of her life in used bookstores, smearing unidentified substances on the spines, and is duly obsessed with books: paper, glue, and ink. Nonetheless, she is most widely recognized for an electronic text, Patchwork Girl, a hypertext reworking of the Frankenstein myth, and for SKIN, a story published in tattoos on the skin of volunteers.

As for ink on paper, she has left her ineradicable stain on Conjunctions, Fence, Grand Street, The Paris Review, and many restaurant napkins. Her first book, The Melancholy of Anatomy, was published by Anchor in April 2002, her second, the novel Half Life, by Harper Collins in 2006. Shelley Jackson also illustrates children’s books, including two of her own, The Old Woman and the Wave and Sophia, the Alchemist’s Dog. She lives in transit and specializes in everything.

Špela Petrič

Špela Petrič, is a Slovenian new media artist and former scientific researcher currently based between Ljubljana, SI and Amsterdam, NL. Her practice is a multi-species collaborative endeavor, a deviant composite of natural sciences, wet media and performance. She envisions artistic experiments that enact strange relationalities to reveal the ontological and epistemological underpinnings of our technological societies and challenge the scope of the adjacent possible. Much of her recent work has focused on plant life. Her work has been shown at many festivals, exhibitions and educational events (Abandon Normal Devices (UK), Venice Biennial of Architecture (IT), Touch Me Festival (CRO), Pixxelpoint (IT), European Conference on Artificial Life (IT), Playaround (TW), Harvard (ZDA), Ars Electronica (AT), Cite des Arts (FR)…). She also received several awards including the White Aphroid for outstanding artistic achievement, the Bioart and Design Award and an honorary mention at Prix Ars Electronica.

Svenja Kratz

Svenja Kratz is a contemporary Australian new media artist interested in the intersections between science and art.  From 2008 – 2012, she produced three major bodies of work that mapped her engagement with contemporary biotechnologies including primary culture of human and fetal calf cells, tissue and genetic engineering, including The Absence of Alice, The Immortalisation of Kira and Rama and The Human Skin Experience/Equivalent Project. In 2013, she received the QLD Premier’s New Media Scholarship and undertook a 5-month residency at Leiden University and the Art and Genomics Centre in The Netherlands.  In 2015, she was artist in residence at the University of Queensland in a collaborative project across Architecture, Music, Interaction Design and Neuroscience.  She holds a PhD in Biotechnology and Contemporary Art from QUT and has exhibited at a range of national and international venues, including The Science Gallery in Dublin in 2010, The Sydney Powerhouse Museum in 2013 and Experimenta Recharge, 6th International Biennial of Media Art touring Australia from 2015 – 2016.

Svenja Kratz is currently based in Hobart, Tasmania and works as a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Creative Practice at the Creative Exchange Institute (CxI) and Tasmanian College of the Arts (TCotA) at the University of Tasmania

Sue Hauri-Downing

Susan Hauri-Downing is an Australian/Swiss artist. She is interested in biocultural diversity, biopolitics, solastalgia and the intricacy of interspecies relationships, with a current focus on the European honey bee (Apis mellifera). She is currently exploring relationships between honey bees, humans and ecologies, focusing on the poetics and aesthetics of human/bee/plant interactions and communications, and is particularly interested in how artistic practices might allow humans to experience/understand interspecies time. She is a beekeeper and has been an external associate with the Center for Integrative Bee Research (CIBER) at the University of Western Australia since 2012.

Previous work has included explorations of the personal and cultural implications of the global cultivation of native and foreign plant species, including aesthetics, ties to “home”, food security, traditional food availability, and materials as artefacts. When possible, she repurposes donated or surplus materials. She draws on the support, services and resources of volunteer organisations or government funded individuals/groups to network, share information, reduce costs, and to add passionate and concerned voices to the issues being explored. Production of her works often involve groups of people who share particular concerns and who might act as consultants, designers, participants, technical specialists or evaluators. Sometimes her artistic role may be simply as a facilitator.

Tarsh Bates

I am a scavenger: a feminist, an artist, a scientist. What, how, why matter to me. I am a descendant of the exhalation of cyanobacteria and millennia of evolution. My body seethes and pulses with hundreds of other species, fashioned by tiny lives and deaths, host to a thriving ecology. We are in relentless re-orientation, tentatively traversing the affordances of each other’s bodies.

Like an ant, I palp and stroke/sniff at the edges to discover what is good to take back to the nest. Like a cat, I bask in the fascinating and disdain the disinterested. Like a dog, I roll in the rotten and run off with thrown sticks. I forage knowledge, materials, ideas, tools, and hunt transient alliances. I transmogrify ingredients into evocative victuals, sampling and nibbling, testing and sipping, kneading and folding, assembling and serving. I offer the human body as transspecies degustation, a site of sustenance for nonhuman life, food and shelter and kinships.

Verena Friedrich

Verena Friedrich is an artist creating time-based installations in which organic, electronic and sculptural media come into play. She was an artist in residence at “SymbioticA – Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts” in Australia and at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing Cologne. Verena Friedrich´s projects have been presented internationally in the context of exhibitions, media art festivals and conferences. Her work was awarded the International Media Award for Science and Art from ZKM Karlsruhe, the Transitio_MX Award, the CynetArt Award, the Lab.30 Award and several distinctions from Transmediale, Ars Electronica, the Japan Media Arts Festival and VIDA Art & Artificial Life Awards. She has been teaching at the University of Art and Design Offenbach and the Bauhaus University Weimar, both in Germany. She currently works at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne where her research and teaching focus is on DIY techniques, BioArt and EcoArt.

WhiteFeather Hunter

WhiteFeather Hunter is a multiple award-winning Canadian artist-researcher, as well as educator, arts administrator, curator and writer based in Montreal. She holds an MFA in Fibres and Material Practices from Concordia University and presents her work internationally, most recently in Reykjavík, Berlin and various US cities, with forthcoming presentations in Helsinki. WhiteFeather positions her BioArt practice within the context of craft and feminist witchcraft, via material investigations of the aesthetic and technological potential of bodily and vital materials. She hacks/builds electronics, uses web-based platforms to generate new mythologies, works in narrative video, and performance as embodied research. WhiteFeather is Principal Investigator and Technician for the Speculative Life BioLab within the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology at Concordia University and artist-in-residence at Sporobole centre en art actuel in collaboration with Dr Denis Groleau, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Microorganisms and Industrial Processes at Université de Sherbrooke.



A satellite event in SymbioticA’s
Unhallowed Arts Festival


“This Mess We’re In” is supported by: