Special events

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SymbioticA's special events include talks, lectures and think-tanks.

These events often involve visiting guests, both local and international as well as residents from our residency program.

They can be stand-alone events or featured as part of a coinciding event on campus or around Perth and abroad.

SCREENING & PANEL: BIO-FICTION Science Art Film Festival

Date: Sat 5 December 2020 3:30pm
Location: State Library of Western Australia Theatre
Tickets: $12

A joint presentation between SymbioticA UWA/Revelation/The BIO·FICTION Science Art Film Festival (as part of XR:WA), this screening and panel discussion features 9 recent sci-fi short films from 8 different countries.

Speakers on the panel are: Stuart Hodgetts (Director Spinal Cord Repair Lab UWA) Guy Ben-Ary (Artist & Researcher UWA) Vladimir Todorovic (School of Design UWA) Jenny Rodger (Associate Professor School of Biological Sciences UWA) and chaired by Oron Catts (Artist & Researcher SymbioticA UWA).

Tickets and info here.

Unhallowed Arts

Unhallowed GIF

Various venues

Perth, Western Australia 

Sept-Dec 2018


Unhallowed Arts is a collection of art events—a monstrosity—occurring in Perth, Western Australia throughout September and October 2018. Unhallowed Arts is timed to celebrate the bicentenary of Mary (Godwin) Shelley’s Frankenstein and features exhibitions that explore the book’s influence on contemporary life and culture.

This event is presented by SymbioticA, The Centre for Excellence in Biological Arts, at the University of Western Australia.




Mari Ohno (live)

Mari Ohno

SymbioticA and TURA new music join forces to present Mari Ohno live in concert. This event is free to the public.

Date: 15 August 2016

Doors: 8PM Entry: Free

Mari Ohno

Mari Ohno is a sound artist, based in London and Tokyo. She was born in 1984 in Tokyo. She is a PhD student at Goldsmiths, University of London, after graduated from the MA in Computational Arts at Goldsmiths, and the MA in Creativity in Music and Sound at Tokyo University of the Arts. Her works are primarily focused in the areas of sound installation and electroacoustic composition, exploring various dimensions of human perception. In addition to her own work, she has also collaborated with other artists in composition and sound design for films. She has been selected for a residency as one of two composers for the Embedded Spring 2015 programme organized by Sound and Music (UK), and is spending 18 months in residence at Cafe OTO.

Her works have been presented at various exhibitions and festivals in Japan and other countries, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo Wonder Site, FILE (Brazil), New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, among others. Her works have been broadcast on TV and radio programmes internationally.

She has been selected for prestigious competitions, including Japan Media Arts Fesitival as the jury selection, Tokyo Sonic Art Award as the Grand Prix. In addition, her works have also been selected for participation in international conferences, such as the ISEA, NIME.

With support from:


Dr Claire Pannell is a sound artist from Perth, Australia, Performing under the name ‘ Furchick ’. Claire is a prolific DIY noise-art maker who incorporates science into her creations, taking her sounds from the natural vibrations created from everyday objects. She lived in Palmerston North from 1987 to 1996 and has a great love of Aotearoa.

In 2015 she was named as one of the best noise artists in the world in the Village Voice. Some of her past projects include touring to Melbourne, USA and Europe in 2015, New Zealand in 2011 and 2013, playing with the Laundry Room Squelchers (USA) at the International Noise Conference in Sydney and Melbourne, performing at Sound Summit in Newcastle, NSW, and playing drums and touring the USA in Gerard Cosloy’s improv noise project Air Traffic Controllers when she lived in New York City.

Claire’s most recent projects have been creating sound designs for Tracksuit Dance Company in Perth and Jukstapoz Dance Company in Greece. She performs regularly and has a prolific DIY catalogue of music making dating back to 1987. She is also a science communicator and her specialist skill is used in workshops that incorporate arts with science, and she develops and presents hands-on workshops for children aged 4 to 17 years old.


Lana is the solo synth-based project from Perth musician Lana Rothnie. Rothnie employs her blended-discipline background in formal Jazz vocal training and Improvisation to achieve the space between Dream Pop, Harsh Noise and Outsider House.




HR: rhizomatic artistic experiments across multiple venues in Perth, Western Australia throughout October 2015



HR was an initiative of SymbioticA and supported by The Department of Culture and The Arts Western Australia

Artlink Magazine launch - Biotech Art Edition

19 September 2014, 5:00-7:30pm
The Bird, William St Northbridge, Western Australia
Free entry- no RSVP required.
Round table speakers: Stelarc, Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr, Guy Ben-Ary, Kirsten Hudson, Elizabeth Stephens and Stuart Bunt.

Bio-art inhabits a realm within the art/science/medicine/technology matrix and this international issue examines a world where human beings are evolving in response to the rapid progress of biotechnology in medicine, genetics, and science. The work of a biotech artist might include extensions to the body; the relationship of living to non-living; bio-couture (living ‘textiles’) the future of cyborgian systems; man-machine interactions and a great deal more. Microbes and bacteria are one of the new frontiers in the understanding of life on earth, and have started to appear as the raw materials of art in various contexts.


Heaven and Earth and Joe DavisHeaven and Earth and Joe Davis

Australian Premiere
Presented by SymbioticA and Revelation Perth International Film Festival

Speakers: Joe Davis

Date: 8:30pm Tues 19th July 2011
Location: Astor Cinema Mount Lawley
Cost: $17 Full $14 Concession


Artist, philosopher and scientist Joe Davis started making crystal radios as a child, nurturing a lifelong fascination with electro-magnetics, DNA and the nature of the universe. Art and science fuse in his work; whether creating a genetically modified apple designed to tempt the Devil, recording the sounds of micro- organisms or encoding Greek philosophy into fly DNA. After Joe explains the broadcast of the harmonic frequencies of vaginal contractions into space as a comment on the censorship of gender by the space program, the universe no longer appears the same.

Exploring Davis’s fascinating life via home movies, reminiscences from family and friends, and the always stimulating presence of Joe (the kind of man who makes dumpster-diving an exploration of possibilities) an absorbing portrait of a true polymath emerges. Director Sasowsky captures Joe’s wonder for the universe and succeeds in making the audience feel the same sense of awe, excitement and raw possibility.

Bookings and information


Design for DebateDesign for Debate - Dunne and Raby

A discussion about the social, cultural and ethical implications of existing, and emerging technologies.
Presented by SymbioticA and The Bureau of Ideas

Speakers: Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, London UK
Chaired by Oron Catts, SymbioticA Director

Date: Monday 3rd August 2009
Location: 6-9pm Hyde Park Hotel
Cost: $5 students/concession $15 waged

London designers Dunne & Raby use design as a medium to stimulate discussion and debate amongst designers, industry and the public. Designers are usually expected to make technology sexy, consumable, and easy to use; to ensure its entry into everyday life goes as smoothly as possible. But as it becomes more complex, there may be the need to slow down and debate the impact of different technological futures before they happen. Dunne and Raby believe designers need to collectively decide on which futures are the most desirable, and the least harmful.
Following their participation in Melbourne at the State of Design Festival, SymbioticA in collaboration with The Bureau of Ideas bring Dunne and Raby to Perth for a public presentation.
The talk will include projects from Dunne & Raby and their students on the MA Design Interactions course at the Royal College of Art to illustrate new design roles, contexts and methods.
Dunne and Rabys work has been exhibited at MOMA, the Pompidou Centre, and the Science Museum in London and is in the permanent collections of MOMA, V&A, FRAC and FNAC. They have consulted for Sony, Philips Design, National Panasonic and France Telecom and have published two
books: Design Noir: The Secret Life of Electronic Objects (Princeton Architectural Press) and Hertzian Tales (MIT Press).

Anthony Dunne is professor and Head of the Design Interactions Department at the Royal College of Art in London. Fiona Raby is a faculty member.
For more information visit: |

Steve Kurtz - Crossing the LineSteve Kurtz Lecture

Presented by SymbioticA and the Institute of Advanced Studies

Speaker: Steve Kurtz
Date: Thursday 30 October 2008
Location: Social Sciences Lecture Theatre, UWA

This lecture is free and open to the public, no RSVP required.

In this brief lecture, Steve Kurtz will discuss some of the elements in the work of Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) that seem to antagonize agencies of power and domination.

Over the years, CAE has been attacked, threatened, and / or denounced by police, the FBI, politicians, corporate lawyers, federal prosecutors, and even religious institutions.

Kurtz will offer some possibilities as to why CAE has been in constant struggle to maintain a public voice, and how the mechanisms of expression management have been increasingly militarized and intensified over the past 20 years.

There will be a screening of the short film CAE: Producing Immolation by Sensimilla Productions immediately following the lecture.

About Steve Kurtz:
Steven Kurtz is a Professor of Visual Studies at SUNY, Buffalo and a founding member of Critical Art Ensemble (CAE). CAE is a collective of tactical media practitioners of various specializations, including computer graphics and web design, wetware, film/video, photography, text art, book art, and interventionist performance.

Formed in 1987, CAEs focus has been on the exploration of the intersections between art, critical theory, technology, and political activism. The collective has performed and produced a wide variety of projects for an international audience at diverse venues ranging from the street, to the museum, to the Internet.

Critical Art Ensemble has also written six books on various aspects of cultural resistance. Its writings have been translated into 18 languages. ( Critical Art Ensemble artists Steve Kurtz and Lucia Sommer are currently artists in residence at SymbioticA, School of Anatomy and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia.


Artsactive Think-Tank

Hosted by SymbioticA, the participants interrogated the issues impacting upon the success and sustainability of art/science residency programs, now and into the future.

Date: 22-24 July 2008
Perth, Western Australia

Outcomes of the think-tank included a set of best-practice methodologies for the delivery of inter-disciplinary residency programs in academic and industry settings. The findings were disseminated immediately after the think-tank at the international conference, ISEA 2008, being held in Singapore (see below).

As well as representatives from SymbioticA, the think-tank involved Denisa Kera (Transgenesis, Czech Republic), Marta de Menezes (Ectopia, Portugal) and Anne Kienhuis (Arts and Genomics Center, Netherlands) and Vicki Sowry, art research science Program Manager at the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT). The participants received a guided tour of SymbioticA and the lab facilities at The University of Western Australia, as well as a field trip to Lake Clifton - home to largest lake-bound thrombolite reef in the Southern Hemisphere.

Artsactive is the international network of organisations involved in running artists' programs in science and industry research labs. There are two Australian members: SymbioticA and the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT), which works with science, industry, academic and government partners to deliver programs of support to media artists. Artsactive is supported by DISONANCIAS and the Basque Government (Industry Department), Spain.

The International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) was initiated in 1988 and is the world's premier media arts event for the critical discussion and showcase of creative productions applying new technologies in interactive and digital media. Held biannually in various cities throughout the world, this migratory event was held in Asia for the second time in its history in 2008.

Presented by Vicki Sowry, art research science Program Manager at the Australian Network for Art & Technology (ANAT), this invited panel was held on 26 July 2008 in the Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium, Singapore Management University.

The panel featured members of the Artsactive network alongside individuals with substantial experience in delivering interdisciplinary residency programs. Panellists include; Oron Catts (SymbioticA, Australia), Marta de Menezes (Ectopia, Portugal), Anne Kienhuis (Arts and Genomics Center, Netherlands), Denisa Kera (Transgenesis, Czech Republic), Irene Hediger (Artists in Labs, Switzerland) and Lonce Wyse (ISEA08 AIR program, Singapore).

The panel presented the findings of the Artsactive think-tank held in Perth, Western Australia immediately prior to ISEA2008. The think-tank, hosted by SymbioticA, interrogated the issues impacting upon the success and sustainability of art/science residency programs now and into the future, including: residency models and methodologies, contracting, IP and copyright, partnerships and ethics.

Artists in the Science ShrineArtists in the Science Shrine

International organisations discuss opportunities for artists residencies in science and research settings.

Date: Tuesday 22 July 2008
Location: 12.30-1.30pm, Social Science Lecture Theatre 1, G28, The University of Western Australia

Artsactive is an international network of projects, organisations and individuals involved in artists collaborations with science and industry research labs. It was created in 2006, and gathers now 14 organizations and 4 experts.

This public presentation will introduce the local arts/science community to the national and international opportunities and models of art/science organisations. Speakers include Denisa Kera (Transgenesis, Czech Republic) Marta de Menezes (Ectopia, Portugal) Anne Kienhuis (Arts & Genomics Center, Netherlands), Vicki Sowry (Australian Network for Art and Technology) MC: Oron Catts (SymbioticA, Australia).

This seminar is part of the Artsactive think-tank hosted by SymbioticA over three days in July to interrogate the issues impacting upon the success and sustainability of art/science residency programs now and into the future.


Gail Wight - Unreasonable Interactions seminarGail Wight - Unreasonable Interactions

Date: 15th April, 2008
Location: 1-2pm, G22, ground floor, Architecture building, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA

I believe that by engaging and teasing out the irrational, the irreverent, and the unreasonable aspects of communication, we can begin to discover ways of interacting that lie outside familiar territory and broaden our conception of understanding. In particular, our attempts to communicate with machines and other animals offer valuable insights into our assumptions about this interchange. Visual art has offered me a playful way to explore ways in which we interact within these vastly dissimilar realms, and I attempt to situate these engagements within a history of science.

Professor Gail Wight is a practicing artist and the Director of Experimental Media Arts and the Director of Graduate Studies in Studio Practice at Stanford University.


ORLAN - This is my Body, This is my Software:Orlan Flyer
between Western and non-Western Cultures

Date: Thursday, 26 July, 2007
Location: 6pm, Social Sciences Lecture Theatre UWA

ORLAN is undoubtedly a mutant of the body-cult era, Bernard Blistene, A conversation ….in ORLAN on Carnal Art, Flammarion, 2004

The internationally renowned French artist ORLAN has been active in photography, video, sculpture, installations and performance since 1965. She wrote the Carnal Art manifesto, and from 1990 to
1993 she conducted her series of nine surgery-performances, which involved a series of plastic surgeries. These were filmed and broadcast in institutions throughout the world, among which the
Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. She lives and works between Los Angeles, New York and Paris and is Professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure dArts Paris-Cergy. A retrospective was organised at the Modern Art Museum of Saint-Etienne, her native city in 2007, on the occasion of her 60th birthday.

ORLAN recently completed a one year position as a researcher at the Getty Institute and is currently an artist in residence at SymbioticA : the art and science collaborative research laboratory in the School of Anatomy and Human Biology at The University of Western Australia. Her project at SymbioticA, The Harlequins Coat, will be created with skin cells cultivated in vitro, taken from ORLAN and from people with various skin colour and origin.

ORLAN is hosted by SymbioticA and supported by the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts, the Faculty of Art, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Institute of Advanced Studies at The University of Western Australia. ORLANs flight is sponsored by Alliance Francais de Perth and The French Embassy in Australia.

ORLAN will conduct further lectures in August for students and will exhibit at the Holmes a Court Gallery, Goddard de Fiddes and in the SymbioticA exhibition Still,Living at The Bakery ARTRAGE complex during BEAP2007



A Bioart - Benefit to raise funds and awareness for the defense fund of Steve Kurtz and Critical Art Ensemble

Date: August 4th, 2004 8:00 pm - late
Location: Bar Open, Francis St. Alley Way near Alexander Library, Northbridge.
Cost: $15 / $10 Concession
Initiated and Curated by: Kira O'Reilly

U.S.A. based artist, member of Critical Art Ensemble and professor, Steve Kurtz, faces continued FBI harassment and possible 20 year charges.

In the wake of his wifes death the FBI were called to investigate the presence of bio substances in this home. He had legally acquired these for use in his art practice, they were three bacteria commonly used as educational tools in schools and university biological departments. Originally threatened with charges of bioterroroism under the post 9/11 patriot Act, harassment of Kurtz now continues as he is charged with 'mail fraud', with up to 20 years imprisonment, horrendous legal costs and huge implications for both scientific and artistic communities in the United States and worldwide.

Who are CAE?
Critical Art Ensemble is a collective of five artists of various specializations dedicated to exploring the intersections between art, technology, radical politics, and critical theory.

Critical Art Ensemble has very publicly and legally performed scientific processes to demystify them and make them accessible to audiences. "Free Range Grains," CAE's latest project, includes a mobile DNA extraction laboratory for testing food products for the presence of genetically modified organisms
From the CAE website:


Bio DJs Jo 19 and Bilsby providing the sounds

A world first! - Bioart auction of Donna Franklin designs, TCA's Semi-Living worry doll, Kira O'Reilly's mutated labcoat and more…

Art, film and performance by such luminaries as:

  • BIOTEKNICA - from Canada
  • Kira O'Reilly - from UK
  • Tanya Visosevic from everywhere
  • Cat Hope from every other where
  • Oron Catts TC&A Project, bio-barman, shaken and stirred
  • PVI collective
  • Chrism & Fenris electronic yet foxy electro