Digesting the incredible experience that was the Super Human is an interactive pleasure to the senses.ANAT and Arts Access Victoria provided a scholarship for an artist with a disability to participate in the workshop and symposium; selected by proposal submission, I was the artist offered the position. An incredible opportunity to work with and experience a menu of international media arts royalty, this was not to be passed up!

Curators, arts writers, artists, producers, theatre directors and arts workers (and more!) united to consider cutting-edge explorations and practices of international arts science collaboration. The presentations offered a unique and personal insight into the world of Augmentation, Cognition and Nanoscale interventions. These themes, a foreign language of sci-fi offerings to many, were related to the human body and proposed many questions of form verses function, aesthetics verses representation, and perhaps the most controversial – the ethics of scientific inquiry.

The dominant flavour of the symposium explored the collaboration between art and science within contemporary creative practice, and yet this union has for many years remained as two very separate and unique islands of human practice. This was, and remains, a remarkable relationship to witness and experience as a growing arena for creative practice. It was not long ago that science and art shared the same academic battlefield as science and religion. It is perhaps fitting that Darwin has captured so much attention over the last year, re-igniting the creationist versus evolutionary debate.

Eternity, Video Still, by Daniel Kotja

Physical limitation of the human body was a common protagonist within the research projects discussed – an area of interest to those, who like myself, could benefit from augmented technologies and other such sci-fi fascinations. As a paraplegic, I am an artist first and found myself fascinated as this notion was debated through several visions. The question of ‘to label (as disabled) or not’ was left on an area of tectonic instability. Political arts or personal practice? Should one be a Disabled Artist or an artist working with disability, or simply an artist [be it new media or sculpture]. Although the topic of ethics was discussed throughout the symposium, this is ethics in real-life application – a debate that has only just begun in Australia.

The relationship between art and science has been out of the closet for some time and although drama appears frequently, some of the most engaging research projects and artistic interventions exhibited a comfort only present in those perfect relationships that ‘everyone else’ has.

The entire symposium opened this once ‘other’ place to an audience dramatically engaged with complex theories made accessible through the artistic interpretation and intervention of some of contemporary arts’ most unique practitioners. With these doors now wide open, the networking fever at the conference will undoubtedly seed many extensions from this incredible event. I, for one, eagerly await the offspring from this unique science art happening, and remain unable to contain the ideas, concepts, proposals and dreams that have filled the space we all relish as inspiration.

I would strongly recommend anyone with an interest in the future of humanity through the wide-angle lens of science art collaboration to access the research and information online at www.superhuman.org.au.

Many thanks to ANAT and Arts Access Victoria for the opportunity and experience that was Super Human.

Daniel Kojta
Daniel Kojta is a curator and new media artist based in the Blue Mountains Australia. In the tradition of Panamarenko and Bill Viola Daniel’s works engage the senses, often through an interactive experience within installations, sculptures, performances and video projections.

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