Category Archives: Uncategorized



WHAT: People doing strange things with electricity
WHEN: Thursday, 26th of May, 6-7pm
WHERE: UNSW Art & Design (formally COFA), room D205
COST: Free!

Dorkbot Sydney is proud to be hosting a special talk by the Perth based artist and researcher from Symbiotica Guy Ben-Ary next week. In Sydney for his upcoming presentation of a new work cellF, the world’s first neural synthesiser, which will be presented at Cellblock Theatre at the National Art School from June 10-12.

The cellF “brain” is made of biological neural networks that grow in a Petri dish and controls in real time it’s “body” that is made of an array of analogue modular synthesizers that work in synergy with it and play with human musicians. It is a completely autonomous instrument that consists of a neural network that is bio-engineered from my own cells that control a custom-built synthesizer. There is no programming or computers involved, only biological matter and analogue circuits; a ‘wet-analogue’ instrument.

There is a surprising similarity in the way neural networks and analogue modular synthesizers function, in that for both, voltages are passed through components to produce data or sound. The neural interface we developed juxtaposes these two networks and in a sense creates a continuum that creates one unified network. With CellF, the musician and musical instrument become one entity to create a cybernetic musician, a rock star in a petri dish.

For more details on the work:

Guy Ben-Ary, born in Los Angeles, is a Perth based artist and researcher. He currently works at SymbioticA, an artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning and hands-on engagement with the life sciences, which is located within the University of Western Australia.  Recognised internationally as a major artist and innovator working across science and media arts, Guy specialises in biotechnological artwork, which aims to enrich our understanding of what it means to be alive.

Guy’s work has been shown across the globe at prestigious venues and festivals from the Beijing National Art Museum to San Paulo Biennale to the Moscow Biennale. His work can also be seen in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2009, his work Silent Barrage was awarded an Honorary Mention in Prix Ars Electronica (Austria) and also won first prize at VIDA, a significant international competition for Art and Artificial Life.

Guy  specializes in microscopy, biological & digital imaging, tissue engineering. His Main research areas are cybernetics, robotics and the interface of biological material to robotics. Much of Ben-Ary’s work is inspired by science and nature.  His artworks utilize motion and growth to investigate technological aspects of today’s culture and the re-use of biological materials and technologies.

Guy is in town to participate in the exhibition The Patient, curated by Bec Dean for UNSW Galleries. The exhibition opens on 2nd June. The performances of cellF are part of the program for The Patient.

For more details about Ben-Ary’s upcoming Sydney performances go to this eventbrite page.

DORKBOT SYD : MAY 2015 : Electromechanical Percussion + Body-Centred Interactivity + Mobile Phone Orchestra


WHAT: People doing strange things with electricity, in association with Musify+Gamify (Vivid 2015)
WHEN: Monday May 18th, 6-8pm
WHERE: UNSW Art & Design (formally COFA) courtyard ‘Black Box’ 1st floor D Block, cnr Oxford St and Greens Rd, Paddington (see map at bottom of post)
COST: Free!



Robbie Avenaim – Percussionist and composer who’s practice combines traditional and extended techniques with physical modification of the drums. Recent modifications have included the invention and application of motorised percussive mechanisms, namely SARPS (Semi Automated Robotic Percussion System) and it’s latest development SARPS 2.0. The design of new instruments is an integral part of Avenaim’s improvisatory and compositional processes in providing access to a greater vocabulary of sounds as well as expanding the role of percussion in experimental and contemporary classical musics. His kinetic sound installations have been featured at numerous galleries and festivals around the world.



Body Ba-Bump, Lian Loke
The body as a prime generator for creativity, performance and interaction.
Ideas and projects from subtle seat bone dancing to jamming gravity sound platforms.


The mobile phone orchestra is a sonic experiment in automated collaborative composition. With the rise of the portable .mp3 player we find ourselves surrounded by crowds of people all wearing headphones, immersed in their own private sonic landscape. The Mobile Phone Orchestra attempts to blend these private landscapes together to create a shared sonic environment that is unique to each separate performance. The next evolution of the Mobile Phone Orchestra will combine motion tracking and physical simulations to add an entirely new level of interaction and playfulness into the collaborative composition process. This brand new work in progress will have participants randomly exploring their combined musical collections by playing ping pong.

Are you lost? We’re here! (Google Maps link)

musifyGamifyLogo     UNSWlogoColour


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 : 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 : 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


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!!!


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!!!



Dorkbot Sydney has been nominated for Fbi Radio’s prestigious SMACS – Sydney’s Music, Arts and Culture Award!!! for the “Best Collective” Category. This award recognises that moment when people come together and magic happens. Blogs, agencies, event organisers, art collectives, gallery owners…any group of people doing great work together & making this city all the better for it.


DORKBOT-SYD : 01110100 01101000 01110010 01100101 01100101

What: “People doing strange things with electricity”
Where: Serial Space, 33 Wellington St Chippendale
When: Tuesday 4th May, 19:00 for a 19:30 speakoff till 10ish
How: Run script

A fantastically well rounded program for this autumn meet-up.


The gear for noise! Introducing hand-made equipments to make “noise” by Hirofumi Uchino:Australian based Japanese artist who creates “noise” related performances, objects and exhibitions with wide range skills and methods. Founder of “Lastgasp Art Laboratories” and “Defektro”.
LAL website:
DEFEKTRO website:


Alex Davies is going to discuss 2 projects that incorporate physical computing for childcare (The Robaupair) and entertainment (Häusliches Glück). A must for downtrodden parents and augmented reality enthusiasts alike!
more about Alex Davies’ work: