Devon Ward

Devon Ward

Devon Ward


Devon Ward is an artist, designer and interdisciplinary researcher pursuing a Master of Biological Art at SymbioticA within the University of Western Australia. His work investigates the liminal space between art and science and engages with living materials as a medium for artistic expression. His process involves entering into the scientific laboratory as a means of elucidating and subsequently subverting the tools of objective observation, repositioning them as a means for subjective cultural investigation. Biological technologies are used to investigate the digitisation of microcellular life and symbolic translation that occurs within this process. Through this trans-disciplinary practise Devon ruminates on the influence of language and symbolism within technology and biology.

Project Description

Nerves in Patterns on a Screen is a speculative project that investigates the levels of care and control that humans maintain over microscopic life in order to generate knowledge. A hierarchical order is maintained during laboratory experiments, whereby someone observes and something is observed. This project explores how biological technologies that digitally record the activities of microscopic life can be re-framed as a means of destabilizing this order. Instead of extending of our perceptual boundaries, the limits of the observational tools are shown.

Living neural tissue is employed as both medium and agent in this project. Digital animations are choreographed and corrupted by the electrical signals of neurons as our technological gaze is disrupted by the agency of life. A collection of chapbooks accompanies the digital, featuring typographic collages and biodigital poetries that cut up the rules of language. These works ruminate on the imposition of symbolism on both digital and biological life, creating a biosemiotic exchange in which an electrical impulses are imbued with meaning. 

Previous Exhibitions

Marqeu d’ironie / Light Locker / Perth, Australia
E. Coli / The West Australian /Australia
Beekeeper’s Reserve / Plant, Energy and Biology Photography Collection /Australia
SymbioticA Poster Series /UWA Guild Village / Perth, Australia
Through a Glass Darkly / Focus Gallery / Gainesville, USA
Tales of a Man Myth (Solo) / Reitz Union Gallery / Gainesville, USA
Musical Chairs / Eleanor Blair’s Studio / Gainesville, USA
Ligature 19 / Focus Gallery / Gainesville, USA
Proof of Unicorns / WARP Gallery / Gainesville, USA
Made in Japan / Design Festa Gallery / Tokyo, Japan
Ligature 17 / Focus Gallery / Gainesville, USA


-Selected for Plant, Energy and Biology Photography Collection / 2012 / Perth, AU
-Awarded Magna Cum Laude / 2010 / University of Florida / Gainesville, USA
-Selection to Ligature 19 / 2010 / Focus Gallery / Gainesville, USA
-Selection to Ligature 17 / 2008 / Focus Gallery / Gainesville, USA

Talks and Seminars

A Brief History of Beekeeping / Centre for Integrative Bee Research /University of Western Australia
SymbioticA D.I.Y. / SymbioticA Workshop & School of Indigenous Studies / University of Western Australia
Alt–keeping: Alternatives to Traditional Beekeeping  / SymbioticA Seminar Series / University of Western Australia

Electives taken

-Molecular Biology of the Cell
-Cells, Tissues and Development
-Comparative Neurobiology
-Philosophy of Mind
-Humans in a World of Change