Child of Now

Child of Now

A Public Art Work of Scale – IN DEVELOPMENT

This is a large project in development which incorporates the use of of innovative scanning techniques, virtual and augmented reality, and performance that will be co-created with contributions from 15000 Victorians. Further details will be released as the project progresses.

The urgent aim of this project is to create a rare and extraordinary moment in the life of Victoria for people to consciously empathize with future generations who will inherit our culture, customs and built environment and face the challenges of climate chaos caused by generations living now. By following the life of a child born in 2022, made up of the contributed faces, dreams and gestures of the current population, it becomes possible to rehearse Victoria’s future in an invested, emotional and human way.

Child of Now is being created in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne, City of Melbourne, Creative Victoria with knowledge partners University of Melbourne.

We have completed a comprehensive Feasibility Study for Child of Now funded by the partners. We are now working on prototypes of the project.

Open Studio – Creative Development

June 2018 – Arts Centre Melbourne supported by City of Melbourne

Over three days the participants unpacked the research material and concept of Child of Now. Focused discussions on technical feasibility took place at the end of each day to ground speculation and move us closer to a deliverable project.

  • Robert Walton, Lead Artist, Director
  • Angharad Wynne-Jones, Head of Participation, Arts Centre Melbourne
  • Emma Dodd, Creative Producer, Arts Centre Melbourne
  • Mish Grigor, Artist, Co-founder of POST
  • Luke McKinnon, Founder and Director, Common State, Communications
  • Brad Hammond, Creative Technologist, Emerging Media System Design Expert
  • Gendry Morales, Founder and CEO, Flight Plan, Blockchain Expert
  • Margie Mahon, Research Innovation and Commercialization, University of Melbourne
  • Prof Frank Vetere, Head Microsoft Centre for Social Natural User Interaction
  • Dr Alison Bennett, Artist working in expanded photography and digital media
  • J Rosenbaum, Contemporary Figurative Artist

One morning the team visited Investment Centre Victoria on Floor 46 of 55 Collins Street. The view of the stretch of the river addressed in Part II was critical in helping the team understand the scale of the project.

Focus Groups

Arts Centre Melbourne and Luke McKinnon director of Common State conducted two focus groups with members of the public about the concept and appeal of Child of Now. One group of 53 year olds and another of 23 year olds worked for 2 hours each on the project concept. The feedback gained from this exercise has informed the shape of the project submitted to this round of the Creative State Commissions.

The use of virtual and augmented reality was appealing to both groups, and particularly appealing was the ability to participate with friends and family in contributing your own image and then being able to see it again in the city. The 53 year olds strongly favoured an innovative project that puts the city and state on the international map in terms of ambition, as well as feeling connected to the idea of adding part of themselves to posterity. The 23 year olds were drawn to the idea of being able to participate with their friends and access the work during the evenings and night.

Comments from Focus Group participants

Blast Theory Development

In April and May 2018 Robert Walton was artist in residence at Blast Theory in Brighton UK as part of the Australia Council’s International Residency Program. Blast Theory are the world-leading pioneers of interactive art, asking thorny questions in public spaces. For six weeks Robert developed the concept for Child of Now under the mentorship of the Blast Theory team culminating in the first public presentation of the background research and working concept for the project.

Blast Theory made this short video at the beginning of the residency.


Visit Robert’s page on the Blast theory website.


Concept, Director, Lead Artist


2018 –


Public Art, Participation, AR, VR, Motion Capture, Performance, Future

Images above by Open Studio participants. 


Robert began thinking about this project in 2014

November 2017

Robert and Angharad start discussing Child of Now as a project for ACM’s Participation department.

February 2018

First meeting with TL Uglow at Google Creative Labs to discuss Child of Now

February 2018

ACMI and University of Melbourne come on board as knowledge partners.

April 2018

City of Melbourne come on board as partners for feasibility study.

April - May 2018

Robert is Artist in Residence with Blast Theory in Brighton UK developing the concept for Child of Now with Blast Theory’s mentorship.

June 2018

Creative Development at ACM supported by City of Melbourne. Artists, creative technologists and researchers contribute to the development of the concept. Two focus groups respond favourably.

July 2018

Shortlisted for a Creative State Commission and awarded $20,000 by Creative Victoria to conduct a feasibility study

August - September 2018

Working on Feasibility Studies for City of Melbourne and Creative Victoria

Project Partners

More Child of Now Stories