Common_Thread: where science and art entwine

Common_Thread is an experimental art project reflecting how ‘settler culture’ has divided up Australia, disconnecting species, cultures and environments.

In this work, QUT researcher and practicing artist Dr Keith Armstrong draws upon his personal experiences of working at QUT’s Samford Ecological Research Facility (SERF) – at an isolated block of remnant forest within a patchwork quilt of surrounding farmed land, typifying the perilously fragmented, disconnected state of Australia’s habitats.

The project utilised point cloud imagery of SERF to develop an artwork representing the connections that bind us into the world, asking how ‘art-thinking’ can help us build common, richly threaded futures. The work was presented at a major exhibition in Barcelona in 2022, and it is being acquired for the Spanish BEEP Media Art Collection.

Dr Amstrong has developed his art practice over the past two decades, with a particular focus on ecological and social science projects.

“My longstanding project as an experimental media artist has been to frame my work within the realms of ecology, in the understanding that biological, economic, social and political factors are deeply entangled and codependent.

“I have sought to understand what capacities my practice might have to affect perceptual and philosophical shifts in the public’s imagination, an approach that I understand as necessary in modelling pathways towards sustaining futures,” Dr Armstrong said.

The project was funded by an Australia Council of the Arts grant, with support from QUT and former Centre Director Professor Jennifer Firn.


EPrint information:

Armstrong, Keith & Bratanov, Dmitry (2022) Common Thread. [Artefact]

Visual data set collected and processed to registered point cloud by Dr. Dmitry Bratanov and Gavin Broadbent, Research Engineering Facility, Office of Research Infrastructure, QUT, Brisbane, Australia.

Audio sources: Australian Acoustic Observatory: A Network to Monitor Biodiversity Project Team, with funding from the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council (LE170100033) (2018). Brisbane, QLD: QUT [].

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body

Feature image: Still from ‘Common Thread’ (2022) 4k video, ISEA 2022, Barcelona, Spain. Image by Dr Keith Armstrong.

Chief Investigators