Festival Community
This website is using cookies to. By clicking 'OK', you agree with our cookie policy. More about this.





Description of campaign/project

WHAT: Finitude is a powerful, whimsical responsive installation for individuals who recline underneath the work and interact, whilst other audience members can watch simultaneously. It seeks a multimodal form of communication that includes all bodily senses and involves both touch sensitive interactivity, 3D moving imagery, moving sculptural objects, lighting and multi-channel sound. It was originally envisaged and developed during a residency with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy NGO the Mallee scrublands of NW Victoria, Australia, and was first presented site-specifically in a motel room in the country town of Mildura.

Participants lie underneath a semi transparent, multi-touch sensitive screen surface which they can activate through the lightest of touches. Upon this same screen falls a digital projection created using real time 3D software. Depending upon the ever changing qualities of this image participants can at times see through the semi transparent screen surface to a series of physical ‘dioramas’ suspended above that are lit by computer-controlled subtle LED spotlighting. These ‘dioramas’ consist of slowly rotating physical objects that in combination with the screen projections create realtime, highly spatial compositions for the viewers - whimsical ‘landscapes’ that combine both 'real' and '3D virtual' media.  The work is accompanied by a rich, responsive 4 channel spatial sound work that draws inspiration from the biology, ecology and techno-cultural landscapes of the Australian arid regions.

Finitude (Mallee: Time) was inspired through a series of recent visits and residencies in Australia's outback Mallee desert country. Further drawing on recent writings by Australian post-colonial author Paul Carter, the work is envisaged as an evolving ‘personal topography’ of place-discovery. By contrasting and melding readily available generalisations of the Mallee regions’ rational surfaces, climatic maps and ecological systems with what Carter calls “a fine capillary system of interconnected words, places, memories and sensations” generated through my own idiosyncratic research processes, Finitude (Mallee Time) invokes a “dark writing” of place through outside eyes - an approach that avoids concentration upon what 'everyone else knows', to instead imagine and develop a sense how things might be. This non didactic form of communication and process is I believe sets the context through which the critical conversations we need to have can emerge.

This basis in re-imagining and re-invention becomes the vehicle for the work’s more fundamental intention - as a meditative re-imagination of 'time' (and region) as finite resources: Towards this end, every object, process and idea in the work is re-thought as having its own ‘time component’ or ‘residue’ that becomes deposited into our 'collective future'. Thought this way Finitude (Mallee Time) suggests the poverty of predominant images of time as ‘mechanism’ to instead envisage time as a plastic cyclical medium that we can each choose to ‘give to’ or ‘take away from’ our future. Put another way - time has become finitude.

It is a truism to say that this work can only exist because of the participatory relations that are developed with its active audiences - both as direct interactors and viewers - and its imitial display in a motel room context indicates its capacity to comfortably operate outside traditional institutional sites or related conventions. In this sense participatory art and eco-cultral communication are the core principles that feed, drive and evolve it.

My works engage with central concerns of ecology that underpin our ethical and political life, focused upon furthering human well being, and by extension, nonhuman well being - through re-understanding, re-evaluating and then choosing how to better act with wisdom and contextual sensitivity. Each new project is conceived under the broad aegis of philosophical ecology and is part of a thinking-through and writing-about process that has always been central to my life as a practitioner. My practice, its theoretical development and the production of the works seek to embody principles of an 'ecosophy'. An Ecosophy is a philosophical position or form of self-realisation that a subject (i.e. you or I) might embody over time. I use it within the term 'ecosophical art practice' to describe what I am attempting to achieve.

This is best thought of as being part of a broader process of making sense of the world, and hence a way of determining my engagement with it. The approach of an ecosophy is deeply entwined within human concepts of individualism, difference, gender and morality; in other words all of what it means to be a human acting in relationship and dependence upon others.

That our collective ability to sustain the future is as much a cultural problem as it is an economic, environmental or technological one. At every stage of the working process I asked myself: what was I doing to advance ‘sustainment’ and how might I also be inadvertently sustaining the unsustainable? I realised therefore that if I refused to struggle with these questions then I would become a part of the problem. This was a key driver for this project.

Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

I want to be here. I want to be in the hotel room in Mildura lying beneath the image, understanding how it responds to the lightest of touch and exploring the finitude of time, the discovery of this place and the ‘ecosophy’ you write of. I wonder if it would be possible to smell the Mallee here – if only as a trace on the wind, imagined.

But alas, right now, I must suffice with the documentation – in images, video and text – of what appears to be a very intimate and deeply felt work.

What I like most is the way the work has been conceived as something ‘evolving’ in time as much as it is about time. Recently I’ve become more and more fond of the way in which (art) works unfold over time and in space, and I’ve come to feel how necessary time is to the many folds of my own work.

But as a “personal topography of place-discovery” I am curious to not just know, but to also feel in the work, what this journey means to you. Was there a Mallee for you before Paul Carter?

Through the documentation available online and embedded in your own words about the work Finitude is a beautifully executed installation carefully developed over time with collaboration and a deep sensitivity. But in relation to Memefest’s interest in works that exist somehow ‘Beyond….’, Finitude, at least as it has been presented here, exists in the form of a deep and beautiful though conventional installation.

Being greedy for this work, I must say that I want more. I want to access and understand the work’s ‘evolution’ over time. Beyond the installation I want to experience how the research, how your own journey outside of hotel rooms and exhibition spaces not only informs but in a different sense actually becomes the work.

I am thinking of multifaceted components – layers and folds that fall outside the installation. A creative articulation; a plurality of forms that share and make legible the participatory relations, the sustainable choices and the interconnected nature of our ecological and cultural worlds. In essence a story of the work as journey.

As the project continues to grow I will stay tuned, with my ear close to the ground.

View other works commented by Alana Hunt  ››

Other comments

No comments yet

Curators comments

This work has been commented by 1 curator(s):
Alana Hunt go to comments ›

Entry details




An interactive installation, investigating the cultural dimensions of sustainability

Concept author(s)

Keith Armstrong

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

Artistic Director Physical Installation Components and Electronics



Other author(s)

Roger Dean, Darren Pack

Other author(s) year(s) of birth

1948, 1980

Other author(s) contribution

Sound artist and sonology, 3D programming



Competition category


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

I have specialised for 18 years in a broad range of collaborative, hybrid, new media works with an emphasis on innovative performance forms, site-specific electronic arts, networked interactive installations, alternative interfaces, public arts practices and art-science collaborations. My ongoing research and practice focuses on how scientific and philosophical ecologies can both influence and direct the design and conception of networked, interactive media artworks - as a means for both sensitising people to how we 'misunderstand ecology' but also through embodied processes to allow them to experiment with thinking through fundamentals for more sustaining futures. These artworks and interventions have been shown and profiled extensively both in Australia and overseas contexts ranging from the more traditional avenues of major festivals and galleries to a range of public buildings as well as in site specific and guerilla locations. Through this non didactic and innately non commercial sensibility I seek to weave the conditions that pre-empt debate, learning and personal and interpersonal action. Current projects involve collaborations with Australia's largest Conservation NGO, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, a project involving several Bat ecologists and Bat Rescue agencies in NSW and Qld and a project to utilise Australia's emerging National Broadband Network to discuss and develop change communities', rallying around long-future thinking.