Ars Electronica Futurelab Academy x QUT 2017 Program

The Ars Electronica Futurelab Academy was created to support students and educators from international partner universities to engage in transdisciplinary practice. Futurelab researchers act as mentors and collaborators, supporting creative exchange with the Academy participants. Participants come from a range of backgrounds; art and design through to science, engineering and technology.

The following three projects emerged from the 2017 Academy program and were presented at the Ars Electronica Festival 2017:

Project 1: Teaching City

Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.

In our current industrial era pedagogy, education is largely confined to the classroom narrative. A teacher facilitates learning, and students adhere to a one-size-fits-all standardised curriculum in which compliance is favoured over curiosity. Teaching City aims to shift perceptions of education and learning by constructing experiential, playful learning moments, embedded in urban spaces.


Image by Jessica Cheers, 2017


This project will comprise a number of guerrilla interventions or “knowledge bombings” dispersed throughout the city, to be discovered by urban citizens. Each intervention is design to subvert and disrupt expectations of the city, creating a glitch in our everyday lives and routines that offer a window into a contemporary issue. Through playful engagement and experiential learning the city becomes an educator – a Teaching City. The creative interventions are design to be open ended rather than delivering a right and wrong, a standardised learning outcome or answer. Rather the project intends to offer citizens a novel, interactive experience that ignites thinking and focus on particular issues such as: noise pollution, water shortage, light pollution, experiences and glitches that each person can unpack and share – creating their own uniquely meaningful learning experiences. The project’s interventions will be unpinned by the principle of a Teaching City, not a Preaching City.

Image by Jessica Cheers, 2017
Image by Jessica Cheers, 2017












“Play is not just mindless entertainment, but an essential way of engaging with, and learning about, our world and ourselves.” – William Gaver


Jessica Cheers

Leah Gustafson

Samantha Glennie

Linda Knight


Jacina Leong

Revy Hamilton

Matthew Strachan

Lee McGowan

Jessica Martin

Quinty Pinxit-Gregg

Project 2: 1:1

The 1:1 project is a live performance that pairs a human and a robot camera onstage. This performance will suspend reality to imagine that the robot camera is artificially intelligent, enabling a shifting relationship between the human and the robot to play out. The human’s role is to give agency to the camera allowing a sense of sentience and autonomy to emerge. This shift challenges the traditional relationship of human performer as subject to camera, subverting the dynamic in order to find a collaborative language between the two.

Photograph by James Dillon.

“We humanize what is going on in the world and in ourselves only by speaking of it, and in the course of speaking of it we learn to be human“ (Arendt, 1968)

The 1:1 project is a 15 minute performance. The work will be begin by showing a segment of the final scene where the Human and the Robot are working collaboratively together, seeing each other on a 1:1 ratio. This final scene is a combination of human, robot and 3D screen based assets. The work will then spin back to the first scene where the robot is taking on the role of researcher and human as specimen. This jump from collaboration to robot using the human as subject presents a non-linear narrative. This narrative structure is scaffolded by the use of the 3d screen based assets, used as a way of revealing the growing sentience of the camera robot for the audience. The final scene will be a recurring interjection into the works narrative arc – growing from the idea of a series of early interactions between human and robot towards a collaborative relationship. See diagram below.

The ambiguous, non-linear structure of the work aims to represent the complex and shifting nature of the human/technological interaction; developing a relationship that is not just surveillance and documentation, but rather a collaboration of equals.

Photograph by James Dillon
Photograph by James Dillon







Jacob Watton (Performer/Choreographer)

Briony Law (Visual Design)

Jaymis Loveday (Cinema Swarm)

Charles Hendon (Cinema Swarm Programmer)

Lincoln Savage (Producer)

With the expertise of:

Mia Bencun

Leah Gustafsan

Stephanie Hutchison

Georgie Pinn

Quinty Pinxit-Gregg

Creative Advisors

Stephanie Hutchison

Nicole Robinson (Human Robot Interaction Advisor)

Kathryn Kelly (Dramaturgy)

Greg Jenkins

Kristefan Minski

Lubi Thomas

Project 3: Synapsense

How will humans sense in the future? How will advances in AI, machine learning, and hardware interfaces affect our perception of self in the world? What happens to the individual experience when our senses are interconnected and augmented? What happens when our intrinsic and internalised sensations of a corporal movement are seen or heard in an external form?

These are some of the threads of exploration and thinking from which Synapsense has emerged.

Photograph by Peter Lloyd, 2017

Synapsense aims to heighten the awareness of one’s own and others physical presence in space. Synapsense is a performative installation that creates an exploratory environment through movement, touch, and soundscape.

The experience occurs in three stages: Explore, Calibrate, Create.

Floor plate design, illustrated by Peter Lloyd, 2017
Photograph by Peter Lloyd, 2017


Isabella Hood – Dance Performance

Felix Palmerson – Dance Performance, choreography

Georgia Pierce – Dance Performance

Sophie Barendse – Dance Performance

Matilda Skelhorn – Dance Performance

Phillipa Chapman – Dance Performance

Jayden Grogan – Dance Performance

Oscar Connor – Dance and Film

Matthew Davis – Music and Creative Technologist

Peter Lloyd – Interactive and Visual Design

Ronan Lock – Music, Dance, and Drama

Matthew Strachan – Technical Systems Specialist

Yanto Browning – Music and Sound

Cameron Whelan – Music and Sound

Stephanie Hutchison – Artistic Guidance

Lubi Thomas – Artistic Guidance

Greg Jenkins – Artistic Guidance, Controller mapping

Quinty Pinxit-Gregg-Producer


Teaching City

Bhatia, R. (2014). Noise Pollution: Managing the Challenge of Urban Sounds. Retrieved from challenge-of-urban-sounds

Statista. (2015). Annual consumption of packaged water in Austria from 2008 to 2015 (in million litres). Retrieved from water-consumption-in-austria-total/

RWL Water News Team. (2015). What Is Bottled Water’s Carbon Footprint?. Retrieved from

Environmental Performance Index. (2014). Water and Sanitation. Retrieved from http://

Garrett, J. (2015). Capturing the Stars That Light Pollution Has Taken From Us. Retrieved from mehmedinovic-skyglow/

Morelle, R. (2016). Light pollution ‘affects 80% of global population’. Retrieved from


1 – TED Talk. 2014. Ray Kurzweil: Get Ready For Hybrid Thinking. Filmed March 2014.

2 – Grau, C., Ginhoux, R., Riera, A., Nguyen, T. L., Chauvat, H., Berg, M., Amengual, J. L., Pascual-Leone, A. & Ruffini, G. 2014. Conscious brain-to-brain communication in humans using non-invasive technologies. PLoS ONE, 9.

3 – Bainbridge Cohen, B. 2012. Touch and Movement. Retrieved from on May 15, 2016.


Ars Electronica Futurelab

Kristefan Minski

Peter Holzkorn

Horst Hörtner


Greg Jenkins

Stephanie Hutchison

Matthew Strachan

Yanto Browning

Independent Artist and Curator

Lubi Thomas