Climate crisis concerns central to QUT Art Museum exhibition

A new exhibition at the QUT Art Museum aims to challenge human exceptionalism in favour of symbiosis, coexistence, and greater balance with our environment.

VR, AR, machine learning, generative AI, electromechanics, environmental DNA sequencing, super-computing and data visualisation are some of the techniques used in new and recent artworks by Australian and international artists for As Above, So Below, which opens June 23.

QUT Art Museum curator, Katherine Dionysius said the exhibition forms part of the creative program for the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA), one of the world’s pre-eminent electronic art symposiums which is on in Brisbane from June 21-29.

The artists represented include QUT alumnus Kate Geck, who graduated with the Bachelor of Fine Harts (Hons) in 2009, and Dr Anna Tweeddale, an adjunct lecturer with QUT’s School of Architecture & Built Environment.

“The term ‘as above, so below’ is a paraphrase of an ancient, cryptic text known as the Emerald Tablet,” Ms Dionysius said.

“It is commonly used to describe the idea that the microcosm mirrors the macrocosm and vice versa. Many historians considered it a reference to the supposed effects of celestial mechanics upon terrestrial events, such the Sun on the change of seasons, or the impact of the Moon on the tides.

“It can suggest events in the spiritual world are echoed in the physical world, or what exists in the digital or virtual world mimics that in the real world. Or what occurs inside the human body is mirrored in the surrounding environment, or what happens on a small scale will also take place on a large scale.

“Considering the current climate crisis, in which we are seeing seemingly minute changes in temperature and sea levels threaten catastrophic changes to the broader ecosystem, ‘as above, so below’ becomes a warning.

Anna Madeleine Raupach – Slow Violence (Eastern Victoria) (detail) 2019–2022 embroidery thread on emergency blanket. Photo: Brenton McGeachie. Courtesy of the artist

“The artists in the exhibition engage with our environment by investigating hidden ecosystems, plant communication, endangered species, air quality, eco-acoustics, posthumanism, plant/human relationships, interactions between earth pigments, and timescales beyond human perception.”

As Above, So Below runs from 23 June-13 October at the QUT Art Museum.

The artists represented are:

Robert Andrew (Australia)

Tully Arnot (Australia/Hong Kong)

Art for Nons (Lea Luka Sikau, Denisa Pbalová, Antje Jacobs) (Germany, Netherlands, Australia)

Michele Barker+Anna Munster (Australia)

Kate Geck (Australia)

Oliver Hull (Australia)

Anna May Kirk (Australia)

Ross Manning and Anna Tweeddale (Australia)

Daniel Miller (USA)

Anna Madeleine Raupach (Australia)

Tiare Ribeaux (USA)

Scenoscosme (Grégory Lasserre and Anaïs met den Ancxt) (France)

Nicole Smede (Australia)

Tamiko Thiel (Germany)

Xenoangel (Samuel Twidale and Marija Avramovic) (France)

About ISEA

The International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) brings together scholars, artists, and scientists from around the world to explore the intersection of art, science, and technology. The symposium was first held in 1988 and has since become one of the most significant forums for exchanging ideas and presenting cutting-edge work in electronic art and related fields.

ISEA is held in a different location every year and was last held in Australia in Sydney in 2013. The 29th Symposium is on in Brisbane/Meanjin, at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre from 21 June 2024.

Main image: Kate Geck Impossible evolutions (detail) 2023 tapestry. Photo: Tobias Titz. Courtesy of the artist

/University Release. View in full here.