WHAT: “People doing strange things with electricity”
WHEN: Tuesday 31st March, 6-8
WHERE: University of New South Wales, Art & Design (formerly known as Cofa!), Fblock, Room F205 (SEE MAP AT THE BOTTOM)
COST: Freeeeeee!

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 4.59.21 pm


Ever wanted to communicate with a NASA space probe launched in 1978, or spoof a restaurant’s pager system? There are surprising similarities! How about use an airport’s Primary Surveillance RADAR to build your own bistatic RADAR system and track moving objects? What sorts of RF transactions take place in RFID systems, such as toll booths, building security and vehicular keyless entry? Wireless systems, and their radio signals, are everywhere: consumer, corporate, government, amateur – widely deployed and often vulnerable. If you have ever wondered what sort of information is buzzing around you, this talk will introduce how you can dominate the RF spectrum by ‘blindly’ analysing any signal, and then begin reverse engineering it from the physical layer up. I will demonstrate how these techniques can be applied to dissect and hack RF communications systems, such as those above, using open source software and Software Defined Radio.

I’ll also look briefly at some other systems that are close to my heart: reversing satellite communications, tracking aircraft using Mode S and visualising local airspace in real-time on a 3D map, monitoring the health of aircraft with ACARS (how many faults have been reported by the next plane you’ll be travelling on, e.g. do the toilets work?), and hunting down the source of an interfering clandestine radio transmission.

– Twitter:
– Meetup:
– YouTube: adventure around the Bay Area: USRP B200: Exploring the Wireless World



Michela Ledwidge introduces Rack&Pin, a web service platform for managing interactive experience from concept through to operations. This presentation looks at challenges and opportunities for directing creative experience in a networked world. Case studies include the ACO VIRTUAL immersive video installation (Manly Gallery & Museum 27 March – 3 May), the Power of 1 exhibition (Old Parliament House, and remixed for Canberra’s Enlighten Festival) and the dirtgirlworld TV series (ABC, BBC, CBC, PBS Sprout).

Michela is an artist and director creating interactive entertainment and live experiences. She is co-founder of studio Mod Productions and a board member of the Australian Directors Guild.



CREATE aims to provide an opportunity for its members to learn practical skills in engineering, invention and design, as well as collaborate on ideas and projects. They run workshops on microcontroller programming, 3d printing, electrical circuit design and UAV development, as well as manage hackerspaces at the UNSW Kensington and Art & Design campuses, provide a 3D printing service and source electronic and robotics components for members.

Nathan Adler, a 6th year combined mechatronics and commerce undergraduate student, is one of the founding members and current president of a student-led society at the University of New South Wales called CREATE, which has grown to over 1500 members in just over 2 years. As a member of CREATE, he specializes in UAV development, microcontroller programming, low energy bluetooth development and CAD modelling for 3D printing. Nathan is the lecturer of a self-designed weekly workshop series at UNSW on Arduino programming and interfacing with hardware and sensors. Nathan partnered with another UAV enthusiast and student Rory San Miguel as part of CREATE to research, design and source affordable autonomous quadcopter kits for interested students, which has since developed into an UAV development team. Along with founding president Sam Cassisi, he also established UNSW’s first robotics and electronics shop, weekly hackerspace and 3D printing service to cater for the needs of students with engineering and design projects.

Are you lost? We’re here!

DORKBOT SUPPORTS: DESIGN LAB: Digital Creative Practice Talks—Anthony Rowe (Squidsoup, UK)

When: Monday, March 2 @ 17:30 – 19:00
Where: ALT2 (Architecture Lecture Theatre 2), Wilkinson Building (G04) 148 City Road, Darlington, 2006
RSVP: Here


Squidsoup is an international group of artists, researchers and designers (UK/NO/NZ) working with digital and interactive media experiences. Their work combines sound, physical space and virtual worlds to produce immersive and emotive headspaces where participants can take an active role in their experience. They explore the modes and effects of interactivity, looking to make digitally mediated experiences where meaningful and creative interaction can occur.
Their work is regularly shown at festivals, galleries and events around the globe. Recent events include solo shows in Bristol and Oslo, and participation in Mapping Festival (Switzerland), Cinekid (Netherlands), Sundance (USA), TIFF (Canada), Scopitone (France), Ars Electronica Festival and Museum (Austria), Glastonbury and Kinetica Arts Fair (UK). Squidsoup have permanent exhibitions at At Bristol (UK 2012), Royal Society of New Zealand (2012) and Contact Energy New Zealand (2013).
Recognition includes include Core77 Design Awards (Professional Notable Honoree 2013), Architecture Now Interior Awards (Finalist 2013), Best Design Awards (Bronze Award 2013), Prix File Lux (Honorary Mention 2010), a BAFTA nomination (2002) and an International EMMA (2000).

DORKBOT SUPPORTS : DESIGN LAB: Digital Creative Practice Talks : DANIEL JONES : MONDAY February 16

Daniel Jones is an artist and software engineer whose work explores new ways in which sound and technology can illuminate our understanding of the world, producing large-scale sculptural sound installations and systems that translate patterns and processes into musical forms.

Daniel will discuss two recent works — Living Symphonies, a touring outdoor piece that grows in the same way as a forest ecosystem, and Phantom Terrains, a platform that enables its hearing-impaired wearer to hear the surrounding landscape of wifi networks — and argues that these two seemingly disparate outputs inhabit the same creative


When: Monday, February 16 @ 17:30 – 19:00
Where: ALT1 (Architecture Lecture Theatre 1)
Wilkinson Building (G04) 148 City Road, Darlington, 2006

Daniel Jones is an artist and software engineer whose work explores new ways in which sound and technology can illuminate our understanding of the world. This manifests itself in both scientific and artistic output: he has published work on process composition, creativity theory, systems ecology and artificial life, and exhibits his sound work internationally, harnessing algorithmic processes to create self-generating artworks.

Recent works include Phantom Terrains (with Frank Swain, 2014), a platform for ubiquitous sonification of wireless network landscapes; Living Symphonies (with James Bulley, 2014-), a landscape sound work that grows in the same way as a forest ecosystem; Global Breakfast Radio (with Seb Emina, 2014-), an autonomous radio station that broadcasts live radio from wherever the sun is rising; The Listening Machine (with Peter Gregson, 2012), a 6-month-long online composition which translates social network dynamics into a piece of orchestral music, recorded with Britten Sinfonia and commissioned by the BBC/Arts Council’s The Space; Variable 4 (with James Bulley, 2011), an outdoor sound installation which transforms live weather conditions into musical patterns; Maelstrom (with James Bulley, 2012), which uses audio material from media-publishing websites as a distributed, virtual orchestra; Horizontal Transmission (2011), a digital simulation of bacterial communication mechanisms; and AtomSwarm (2006—2009), a musical performance system based upon swarm dynamics.

Daniel’s engineering work includes Chirp, a platform and iOS app for sharing information over sound, shortlisted for the Design Museum’s Designs Of The Year; the 3D audio engine for mobile games Papa Sangre and The Nightjar, nominated for two BAFTAs including “Audio Achievement”. He co-ordinated the technical infrastructure for The Fragmented Orchestra, winner of the prestigious PRSF New Music Award 2008, and was more recently a fellow on the Mozilla Webmaker programme.

DORKBOT SYD : JULY 2014 : Lovid, Systhesisers and Ceramics / Semaphore and Kinect / Megaphones

WHAT: People doing strange things with electricity
: MONDAY 28th July, 6-8pm
WHERECollege of Fine Arts, UNSW, Cnr of Oxford St and Greens Rd Paddington, Outdoor Courtyard, between Block D and Block F (campus map here!)




LoVid is the NY based interdisciplinary artist duo comprised of Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus. LoVid’s work combines handmade engineering with craft and fine art. Their expansive practice includes immersive installations, sculptural synthesizers, single channel videos, participatory projects, mobile media cinema, works on paper, and A/V performance. LoVid has toured and exhibited in the USA and Europe extensively. Throughout their diverse projects, LoVid continuously explores relationships between technology and the individual human body or contemporary society.

Reaction Bubble is a work in progress by LoVid commissioned by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and produced by Real Art Ways. For this work, LoVid invited a ceramicist and a choreographer to collaborate on an immersive installation where LoVid’s audio/video synthesizer will be encased in ceramic sculptures and activated by performers. Reaction Bubble draws inspiration from the study of proxemics, which is concerned with the distances between people depending on the relationships and contexts in which they interact.


Flagging, Frances Barrett with Samuel Bruce, Live Performance, 2014, Photo: Lucy Parakhina

Flagging is a live performance by Frances Barrett with sound composition and programming by Samuel Bruce. Flagging is a manifesto performed in semaphore code by Frances. Semaphore is a system of sending messages by positioning the arms or two flags according to an alphabetic code. Using a Microsoft Kinect and the softwares Processing and Pure Data, Samuel built a system whereby the computer ‘read’ Frances’ semaphore message, with each semaphore symbol triggering samples and musical phrases.


Image credit:
Flagging, Frances Barrett with Samuel Bruce, Live Performance, 2014, Photo: Lucy Parakhina



The invention of the megaphone allowed for the extension of the human voice to be heard over large areas, its earliest use resolved a means to carry out authority in cases of propaganda and crowd-control. The concept of the megaphone has well progressed from its inception, when human ancestors first cupped their hands and yelled, to even subsiding Edison’s vision. This project is an attempt to activate multi-level relationships of listening between a receiving body and a producing body via experimentation with varying conditions of “noise”, time, architecture and space. Hacking the functions of a 50W megaphone through simple reverse amplification, perhaps could allow us to re-consider ‘listening’ as a phenomenon of production and interpretation than a mere point of response and receiving, an “instrument of listening voices” over an “apparatus for amplified instruction.” Soundcloud: Pre-Dorkbot Event (If curious to listen to megaphone in a 1hour long experimental set):

Our usual “show and tell” slot at the end of Dorkbot is an invitation for anyone present something they are working on, thinking of or can’t work out! Sharing is caring.


DORKBOT SYD : JUNE 2014 : Projection Projects

WHAT: People doing strange things with electricity
: Thursday 26th June, 6-8pm
WHERECollege of Fine Arts, UNSW, Cnr of Oxford St and Greens Rd Paddington, Outdoor Courtyard, between Block D and Block F (campus map here!)


This month is a special outdoor (weather permitting) Dorkbot, where we’ll be taking over the COFA courtyard and firing up a few projectors to light up the night sky. Rug up and Bring Your Own Beamer (see the end of this post for more)…


Andrew Burrell and Chris Rodley (Live Data Streams)


Andrew Burrell is a contemporary arts practitioner with a history in real time 3d and interactive audio installation. He is exploring notions of self and narrative and the implications of virtual worlds, networked environments and artificial life systems upon identity. His networked projects in virtual environments have received international recognition. He holds a PhD from the University of Sydney (Sydney College of the Arts).

Chris Rodley is a writer for new media whose work is exploring emerging frontiers for the literary in networked environments. Past projects include writing for web, television and live performance. Chris is currently a PhD candidate in digital cultures at the University of Sydney, where he is studying the rise of data-driven writing.

Andrew and Chris will present their recent collaborations. They will be focusing on the challenges of working with live social data and on moving between screens spaces – from tablet & laptop to large scale projection. Recently, their focus has been on storytelling with real-time data in a series of media art collaborations including Enquire Within Upon Everybody, presented simultaneously in Sydney and Darwin as part of ISEA2013, and Everything is Going To Be OK, a dialogue created from social media content shown at the Electronic Literature Organization’s 2014 conference and media arts show in Milwaukee, USA.

Bert Bongers (Projections in the Wild and other Interactivities)


A/Prof Bert Bongers leads the Interactivation Studio in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at UTS to support the design and research of interactivating objects and spaces. He lectures across the design disciplines in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

Bert has a mixed background in technology, human sciences and the arts, developed through education as well as practice. In his work he combines insights and experiences gained from musical instrument design, interactive architecture, video performances and interface development for multimedia systems to establish frameworks and an ecological approach for interaction between people and technology. Currently his research projects cover the design and development of interactive rehabilitation tools, advanced lighting controllers, haptic feedback, and interactive textiles.

MPU and Toby&Pete (Mobile and Interactive)


MPU (Mobile Projection Unit) is a collective working on taking mobile interactive experiences out into the urban landscape. The foundation of our work is to use urban architecture to generate and drive the interactive experience. By scanning building facades and determining features such as windows, doors, pipes and signs the MPU system is able to feed these into projected imagery as interactive elements in the form of geometry, boundaries or obstacles.

Toby and Pete is a multi-disciplinary design studio that brings together a select team of creative specialists. Since opening our doors in 2010, our constant curiosity has lead us to build a folio with roots in printcraft to one that now spans across film, interactive installations and more recently live visuals performed to crowds of thousands of people.

Volker Kuchelmeister (Expanded Spaces of Representation: Exploding the boundaries of the cinematic image)


Volker Kuchelmeister is a media artist, researcher and digital media specialist. He is expert in place representation and has worked extensively in cinematography, experimental imaging, spatial mapping, interactive systems, immersive visualisation and mediation in the performing arts while exploring and exploding the boundaries of the cinematic image. He was a founding member of several media-based research labs (ZKM Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe, University of New South Wales iCinema Centre and the National Institute for Experimental Art iCinema Lab) and his art projects are exhibited internationally.


Bring Your Own Beamer and share your ideas! As a special Dorkbot show-and-tell, we want to see projection work of all shapes and sizes, painting the concrete walls of the COFA courtyard. Share your work-in-progress and crazy light/projection hacking stories! Arrive early to set up and find that all important power outlet.

Poster image: Snake The Planet by MPU


WHAT: People doing strange things with electricity
: Thursday 29th May, 6-8pm
WHERE: College of Fine Arts, UNSW, Cnr of Oxford St and Greens Rd Paddington, Main Lecture Theatre – EG02 (campus map here!)



Andreas Siagian (Indonesia): LifePatch

Andreas Siagian is an artist, engineer and internet troll,  a cross disciplinary artist with an engineering background focusing on creative communities, alternative education, DIY/DIWO culture and interdisciplinary collaboration in art, science and technology. Since 2004, he is working in community-base initiatives to produce installations, workshops, lectures and organizing events as well as festivals in Indonesia. His collaborative actions with the local creative community developments included him as a co-founder of several initiatives such as breakcore_LABS, a platform for experimental audiovisual performance;, an online street art documentation and mapping for Indonesia and – citizen initiative for art, science and technology, an independent community-based organization working in creative and appropriate application in the fields of art, science and technology. With Hackteria, he was the co-director of HackteriaLab 2014 – Yogyakarta.

Lindsay Kelly
Working in the kitchen, Lindsay Kelley’s art practice and scholarship explore how the experience of eating changes when technologies are being eaten. She is working on her book, The Bioart Kitchen, which 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). Lindsay is an Associate Lecturer at COFA UNSW as well as an International Research Fellow at the Center for Fine Art Research, Birmingham City University.

Members of Australia’s only Biohacking group will join us to discuss their projects and activities. They invite us to come along and help them make stuff glow and cure health problems as citizen scientists.


Andrew Tuckwell from BIOMOD will be speaking about the project briefly. BIOMOD is an annual, international bio-nanotechnology competition for undergraduates run by the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Students design and construct simple machines and structures on a nano-scale out of the basic molecules of life (DNA, RNA and Proteins) and present their work at a conference at Harvard University in November.


Poster image – lifepatch at BioArtNergy, 2012, installation

DORKBOT SYD : APRIL 2014 : Microview Arduino / Art and Geoengineering / Robots and Graffiti

WHAT: People doing strange things with electricity
: Thursday 24th April, 6-8pm
WHERE: College of Fine Arts, UNSW, Cnr of Oxford St and Greens Rd Paddington, Main Lecture Theatre – EG02 (campus map here!)



Marcus Schappi : ‘Microview’ Arduino

Marcus Schappi is CEO of Geek Ammo and regularly hops between San Francisco, and Sydney, Australia. Geek Ammo is building the Internet of Things for the rest of us, allowing anyone to build IoT Systems. Marcus has a Masters of Design Science (Design Computing) from Sydney University and studied Mechatronics & Business at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Josh Wodak : The Shape of Things to Come: Art and Geoengineering

Models of climate change trajectories show the shape of things to come for the biosphere and its inhabitants this century. Scientific organisations worldwide overwhelmingly maintain that the window to avoid runaway catastrophic climate change is closing fast. In turn, highly reputed climate scientists and scientific organisations are now proposing radical ways to engineer the world‘s climate through bioengineering and geoengineering. How can art explore this reversal of agency: from being shaped by things to come, to how humans may shape things to come through climate engineering interventions designed to separate existing lifeforms from six degrees of catastrophe.

Dr Josh Wodak is an interdisciplinary artist whose work transforms climate science into visceral and embodied experiences of climate change, by metaphorically mapping audiovisual representations of change onto human and non-human landscapes. His ongoing body of work, Good [Barrier] Grief (2011-present), uses participatory practice in photomedia, video art, sound art and interactive installations to explore the development of post- fossil fuel futures in relation to energy production and climate change. He is currently an Honorary Research Fellow at the Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning, University of Sydney.

Josh Harle : Robots and Graffiti

Following work with the NSW govt’s anti-terror branch – the Emergency Information Coordination Unit – and  continuing his research into “mapping ad absurdum”, Dr Josh Harle has created a robot to obsessively map and digitally reconstruct the gallery space.

You : Show & Tell

Bring something along to show!!!


WHAT: People doing strange things with electricity
WHERE: College of Fine Arts, UNSW, Cnr of Oxford St and Greens Rd Paddington, Main Lecture Theatre – EG02 (campus map here!)
WHEN: Thursday 27th March, 6-8

We’re back! With a new home and a new Overlord. Scott Brown has joined the fold! So we’re looking forward to hearing about his endeavors and we’re also very happy to have the ‘new kid in town’, Jeffrey Koh! Bring along some snacks if you like and we can journey to the pub after to continue scheming!!!

Jeffrey Koh
I’m a bit of a polymath when it comes to my research and practice interests, which ranges from UX design, design thinking, installation and new media art, hacker/maker culture, human-computer interaction, ubiquitous and pervasive computing, as well as robotics. My most recent project deals with morphable and shape changing interfaces based on the electro-magnitization of ferrofluids. In the past I did some work with PRADA doing catwalk designs, as well as helped design a robot with the capacity to love and be loved. Recently I co-founded a startup in Singapore and I am now an associate lecturer at COFA, UNSW. Connecting the dots between disciplines has been a life-long journey, and I am a firm believer that these grey areas between traditional practices is where all the cool stuff happens.


Scott Brown
Scott Brown was born with one eyebrow. Despite this terrible affliction, he has overcome the odds to not only interact with other human beings, but excel at investigating this very field. Taking the well-trod path of DJ-turned-promoter, Scott found himself involved in many creative pursuits within the DIY culture of dance music during the dreadfully titled ‘noughties’. Before long, this resulted in a keen interest in design and performance technology. Combining his background of music production, theatre and visual design, Scott has now focused his efforts upon experiential media. Interested in the area where performance, technology and design meet, Scott’s projects are often a reflection upon our own behaviour as humans, as much as they are an investigation of the technology we bring into our everyday lives.


Pia van Gelder
Pia van Gelder is an electronic media artist. Her practice is centered around building and hacking media machines for live audio and video performance and interactive installation. Pia’s recent work has been focused around synthesisers. In 2013, van Gelder built an analogue video synthesiser in collaboration with Stephen Jones. She has also been working with CMOS chips to devise various “bio synths”, one that she built with Andreas Siagian and Michael Candy is called Mountain Operated Synthesiser and is at Mount Merapi, an active volcano near Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where they installed it on the Second Base Camp.


(Photo by Gabriel Clark)

As per usual, our finalé ‘show&tell’ session is up for grabs. Bring along something your working on!!!


We’re looking for people to present their work at Dorkbot in 2014!!!


Dorkbot Sydney is a regular event for “people doing strange things with electricity. Born memetically from the original New York faction initiated by artist/engineer Douglas Repetto, Dorkbot now exists in over 75 different cities around the world. The Sydney faction has been running since 2006 in artist-run-spaces and has now taken residence at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales.
Taking the standard format, Dorkbot Sydney is a free monthly event, open to the public, drawing people from all fields to present their independent projects, finished, or in progress. Each event includes 3 presentations and an open show&tell session at the end. Some examples of projects that have been presented in the past include, bitcoin miners, radar synthesisers, video synthesisers, dancing automata, re-animated cochroaches… The list goes on!
The aim of Dorkbot is to bring people together from different fields, be you artist, engineer, musician, electrician, software developer, enthusiast, etc. On the last Monday of every month, regular meetings pose as an opportunity for public discussion, peer review and exploration of ideas, experiments and finished works. The event solidifies a curious community in an encouraging environment.
If you have a project you would like to show we would love to hear from you. All you need to do is get in touch with us with a brief description of your project and a list of the months you will be available for, in order of preference. 31/3, 28/4, 26/5, 30/6, 28/7, 25/8, 29/9, 27/10, 24/11



WHAT: People doing strange things with electricity
WHERE: 107 Projects, 107 Redfern Street Redfern NSW 2016 Sydney Australia
WHEN: Monday 23rd of September, 2013 – 7:00 pm till 9:30 pm
HOW MUCH: Gold coins or Bitcoins

This month’s Dorkbot has been guest curated by James Nichols!


Frederick Malouf has designed a debt-free decentralised currency called Timebeats, based on time. It supports what is universal in every human being, regardless of culture, beliefs, or position: we all want to love and be loved, we all want the opportunity to create, we want what we create to be acknowledged to be of value by as many people as possible.
It is designed for users to default to collaborate and share knowledge to create the highest quality product with minimal resources in the shortest time, ultimately creating of a foundation for reputation economies.
At the core of Timebeats is crowdsourcing. People are the most valuable asset any project/business can have. Funding becomes redundant. So do lots of other things, in particular tax, poverty, crime, and most conflict.
There is no greater gift anyone can give you than their time, and there is no greater insult than wasting it.
Find out more here:

GAMESPACES: Museum of Contemporary Art is a photo‐realistic recreation of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art as a playable video game, complete with galleries filled with paintings, sculptures, and video works.
The work was commissioned by guest curator Tully Arnot for the MCA’s 13th Artbar event entitled “Unreal!”, and was installed as a recreation of a gamer’s livingroom (complete with Dorritos) at the entrance to the museum. It explores everyday experiences of space in an age of mediating technology, framing the virtual gamespace against the physical building it indexes and is installed within. The artist plays on our ability to perceptually inhabit the gamespace, and our pleasure in doing so.

Gamespaces: Museum of Contemporary Art from Josh Harle on Vimeo.

Gamespaces: Museum of Contemporary Art from Josh Harle on Vimeo.

BitCoin is a peer-to-peer de-centralised currency that can be used as a means of semi-anonymous exchange between two parties that requires no third party clearinghouse or central bank to issue the currency. The system, called a “crypto-currency” uses an ingenious combination of cryptographic algorithms to create a true peer-to-peer network, with verified transactions.
Bitcoin transactions are verified through hash-breaking algorithms where people can volunteer computer time to put in large amounts of work to ensure the verification of the whole system. In return they get a BitCoin reward. This process is called “mining”, it generates Bitcoin out of thin air for putting in some work.
Recently there has been a lot of activity in the world of creating custom hardware for doing this mining process many orders of magnitude faster than an ordinary CPU ever could. Dan Stocks, James Nichols and Jesse Ricketson have been working on providing one such system, and will talk about their endeavours in the wild west frontier of Bitcoin mining.