Author Archives: dorkbotsyd


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.



WHAT: People doing strange things with electricity
107 Projects, 107 Redfern Street Redfern NSW 2016 Sydney Australia
Monday 29th of July, 2013 – 7:00 pm till 9:30ish pm


Benjamin wilI talk though his recent works exhibited as part of NEW13 at ACCA. This will be an informal conversation about language, it’s failings and it’s inherently political nature, utilising art objects as some sort of reference point. Words are broken and frail things scattered on the table like all that dust and rubble. Surplus value maybe. Concrete maybe. Maybe.


Scientist, programmer and artist, Edwin van Ouwerkerk Moria from the Netherlands will speak about the upcoming Underbelly project Ghosts of Biloela, by Creative Nonfiction, a historical drama anchored in the geo-locative technology of the future, this smartphone app blends electrifying binaural soundscapes with a choose-your-own-adventure.


MooresCloud Holiday, the world smartest Christmas lights. Part of the Internet of Things ecosystem, MooresCloud are making intelligent lighting that can not just be controlled over WiFi, but can host a web server, runs python, provides a physical UI (3 buttons), and act as an intelligent controller for your other IoT devices. You can control the colours and animations from your smartphone or tablet, or have it react to external stimulus – such as music, weather, server uptime, or Facebook likes.



Bring along your own projects for our usual show & tell session!!!


WHEN: Thursday 20th June, 6-9PM
Campbelltown Art Centre, One Art Gallery Rd, Campbelltown PH: 4645 4100
WHAT: People doing strange things with electricity

We are super excited about our awesome excursion to Campbelltown Art Centre this month. In conjunction with the ISEA2013 exhibition Catching Light in which Campbelltown Arts Centre has brought together 5 creative innovators from the analogue and early digital eras to mentor, collaborate and exchange ideas with 5 ‘new generation’ artists from various disciplines – art, sound and performance – who have chosen these technologies as the most appropriate channel of enquiry for their current work, or have a practice reliant on engagement. The focus is on conversation, participation and interaction as a means of informing us, the audience, how we communicate, or respond to art. Collaborators include: Linda Dement & Kelly Doley, Tom Ellard & Paul Greedy, Troy Innocent & Benjamin Kolaitis, Stephen Jones & Pia van Gelder, Wade Marynowsky & Michael Candy (Many of whom have presented at Dorkbot before!!!).

This amazing show and Dorkbot, all in the same building on one day!!! What will happen???!!!


Robo Dojo are a group of individuals that have teamed together to create, build and work on each others projects! Their projects are open to anything that your creative mind can imagine. They try to make things happen! Their team members have expertise in electronics, arts and craft, and woodwork. They are always keen to learn more skills.
Check Robo Dojo out on Facebook here


David is a Dorkbot Sydney officionardo who is also known for his WaterDuino project: an open source water injection for Arduino. This month he is going to present a project he has been working on which drives sound and light from a computer video port!


As per usual, we have an open slot at the end of every Dorkbot for anyone to present something. Bring something along you have made and show us!!! Could be anything! Could be broken, or unfinished or even just an idea or theory.


What: People doing strange things with electricity
When: Tuesday March 5th, 7:30 for a 7:45 Speak off
Where: 401 Hibernian House, 342 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills

Dorkbot into the future! We were meant to have this edition in February but it has just gone by so quickly! Dorkbot Sydney’s first edition for 2013 is a music spectacular! Come and join us with some diy karaoke, drumming and pi-balls! Lot’s of talk about the special raspberry pi!!! And the infamous Alon Ilsar kindly hosts this month in his very own stomping ground Hibernian House. Make sure you BY!

Alon Ilsar is an instrument designer, electronic producer, experimental percussionist and composer. He is currently doing a practice-based research PhD at UTS in designing a new interface for electronic percussionists. With the help of software engineer and composer Mark Havryliv, this interface, called the AirSticks, allows the performer to trigger and manipulate sounds in a 3D virtual space, using various gestures based on that of an acoustic drummer.

Multiple Raspberry Pi units are wired to little speakers, and armed with a wifi connection. A central computer can push audio-generating code (written in Java) to the individual units, making them a set of little controllable audio units that can be distributed around the space. The result is an immersive sound experience.

Sometimes it seems like The Raspberry Pi was developed in a conspiracy to combat the discarding of old CRT televisions. Why? Because they come standard with a composite video output, that can plug straight in to any old television you can pick up on the side of the road. Combine this with the power of the Python scripting language, a nifty karaoke script, and gigabytes of internet karaoke files, you too can make your own little party machine! We will demonstrate how!




What: People doing strange things with electricity
When: Tuesday October 30th, 7pm for a 7:30 speak off
Where: 107 Projects, 107 Redfern Street, Redfern

Third verse, same as the first… the October edition of Dorkbot has been curated by August’s Overlord Ben Lippmeier!


Glyph Graves
Glyph Graves coming from a background working in evolutionary genetics took up digital art in half a decade ago. Invited to take part in the inaugural Australian Centre for Virtual Art workshop in 2010
He creates art that blurs the distinction between the physical and the virtual creating works that utilise real time feeds from one to the other or both and transforms their characteristics into sound, movement and colour within an aesthetic/conceptual framework.
Examples of which can be seen here and


Circle Path
Circle Path is a realtime audio visual electronic performance duo that uses modular video synthesis (vvvv), vocoded voices, midi guitars and a kinect 3D camera. Essentially Circlepath ‘plays’ the environment that surrounds them. ‘Circlepath sounds like the last breath of the universe…’



What: People doing strange things with electricity
When: Tuesday September 25th, 7pm for a 7:30 speak off
107 Projects, 107 Redfern Street, Redfern

This months Dorkbot with guest curators Andrew Burrell and Warren Armstrong we will be exploring projects that sit across the virtual/augmented & physical spaces. People doing strange and wonderful things with seen and unseen spaces – connected via data, electronics, digital devices and more…


Michela Ledwidge
Josh Harle
Sander Veenhof
Warren Armstrong
Andrew Burrell
You – the usual open mic / show & tell


Image credit : Warren Armstrong and Christopher Dodds

Be there and be square!