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Hauntings: conjuring, exorcising and making friends with ghosts

A Food for Thought event by the Art, Social and Spatial Practice Research Cluster curated by Toby Juliff (VCA Art) and Robert Walton (VCA Theatre)

The subject of haunting – and that of its bedfellows ‘spectres’ ‘ghosts’ and the Gothic imaginary – continues to fascinate us. But we’re now more accustomed to talking about ‘haunting’ as a way of thinking about and practicing the past, present and future. Moving beyond the white bed sheet and the g-g-g-ghosts of Scooby Do this research performance vocalises, enacts, re-enacts, offers critique, conjures and exorcises the haunting of contemporary theatre, fine art and cultural performance. We welcome your participation.

Participants, respondents, discussants and exorcists for the evening include: Alice Hui-Sheng Chang (experimental vocal artist), Robert Walton (VCA Theatre), Nigel Brown (sound artist), Toby Juliff (VCA Fine Art), Jason Maling (artist), Edward Colless (VCA Fine Art, Head  of Critical and Theoretical Studies), Sophie Knezic (VCA Fine Art and CATS).

When: Tuesday 16 June 2015. 5:30-7:30pm

Where: Art Auditorium, Dodds Street, Victorian College of the Arts, Southbank

"All these pictures of the world should not be allegories of infinite mobility and interchangeability but of elaborate specificity and difference and the loving care people might take to learn how to see faithfully from another's point of view, even when the other is our own machine."
Donna Haraway 1988, 'Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective', Feminist Studies, vol. 14, no. 3, p. 583

ACMI Events: In Conversation with Simon Wilkinson

Simon Wilkinson In Conversation

Tuesday 10 March | 6.30pm – 7.30pm | ACMI


Simon Wilkinson is a multi-award winning and internationally renowned artist whose interactive, transmedia and immersive works cross over into performance, installation, theatre, video art and elaborate interactive multi-platform narratives.

This forum event, presented by Fed Square’s Creative Program and hosted by Robert Ellis Walton [VCA] will include a presentation by Simon Wilkinson on the most recent developments in interactivity, multi-platform, virtual reality and technology-based arts; followed by a discussion and audience Q&A.

This event is followed by a free performance of Beyond the Bright Black Edge of Nowhere in Fed Square.

FREE but reservations essential BOOK HERE:

For more information about the event:


Immersive Transmedia Storytelling in Theatre and Performance

A workshop for artists and researchers led by Simon Wilkinson of Circa69

1:30 – 5:00pm | Thursday 12 March 2015 | Federation Square Board Room

FREE but registration required as spaces limited.

The workshop will cover the psychology of attention with respect to audience immersion, the principles of multi-platform storytelling for live work plus a look at current and emerging technologies including oculus rift, leap motion and kinect.


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Journal Article: Bewildering Behaviour in Australasian Drama Studies

My paper Bewildering Behaviour: Practice as Research for Audiences and Other Creators of Immersive Performance was peer reviewed and published in Australasian Drama Studies 65, October 2014. It was a special edition called Digital Performance Futures in Australasia guest edited by Gorkem Acaroglu and Glenn D’Cruz. Please contact me if you would like a copy or to discuss this area of research.


Public Talk – Bewildering Behaviour

Bewildering Behaviour: Practice as Research for audiences and other creators of immersive performance

VCA 2014 Research Seminars

Presenter: Robert Walton

In 2013 Josephine Machon made the major claim that her interviews with leading British immersive theatre practitioners ‘proves Bourriaud’s theory that relational artistic activity can become a democratic means for positive societal and communal interaction.’ Machon goes on to corroborate Bourriaud in identifying ‘the ongoing demand for immersive practice as an antidote to the alienating experiences of globalisation and virtual socialising and networking’. This paper will ask what would happen if we took Machon, Bourriaud and Rancière at their word, causing spectators to be seriously considered investigators, experimenters and therefore researchers? If an artwork positions its audience-participant as a researcher conducting an experiment in order to collaborate with it in the discovery meaning, as is the reported aim of much immersive work, what are the implications for knowledge production?

Tuesday 19 August 2014
12:15 – 1:45pm

Art Auditorium,
School of Art, enter via Gate 4,
Dodds Street, Southbank Campus

Full Details2014 Seminar Program Outline


New Commission: In Your Hands – Arts House / Australia Council

In 2013 I worked with Arts House (North Melbourne) to initiate In Your Hands, a project based on developing what I term ‘itinerant’ art works, that require the audience member to physically move in order to performatively ‘enliven’ or ‘instantiate’ the work. My collaboration with Arts House is built on a mutual interest to find ways to understand and encourage itinerant works created by theatre makers that often proliferate outside of existing institutional support structures.  The project, which starts this year (2014) and ends in 2016, was successful in securing $250,000 from The Australia Council’s Digital Theatre Fund.  In Your Hands brings together four teams of artists with professional app developers and theatre producers to explore the potential of ‘theatre’ works on mobile devices in public space. The aim of the project is for each of the teams to create (at least) one art work, and in so doing help venues better understand how to support similar projects in the future. I will lead one of the creative teams to realise a new work in 2016.

The creation of this work is part of my ongoing research into ‘transmedia mobilities’ that is an area of focus for my research at University of Melbourne.

Transdisciplinary Wordle

Transdisciplinary Form and Production: Reflections on Translation, Embodiment and Mobility (through Alma Mater, 2011)

by Robert Walton and James Oliver

A collaboratively authored paper available in 2012 Transdisciplinary Imaging Conference Proceedings.  The paper responds to the conference theme of ‘Interference as a strategy for art’.

An earlier draft is available here, read on for more.

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