Computing and Information Systems Research Seminar by Robert Walton, Artist in Residence
The large-scale public art work Child of Now invites Victorians to participate in the largest single portrait of a population ever created. Beginning with the question ‘What will life be like for a child born now?’ 14,400 people will answer by contributing a moving 3D scan of themselves along with advice, ideas, apologies and insights to future generations. The contributions will create an ephemeral augmented reality performance above Arts Centre Melbourne, aging 100 years in 10 days.
This seminar outlines the artistic, social, ethical and technological challenges of creating such a comprehensive portrait of a population in 3D-video and transforming it into a geo-located 144m tall augmented reality performance. After a comprehensive feasibility study Child of Now is preparing to enter a prototyping phase, an opportune time for colleagues from across the university to engage with the project.
Robert Walton (Aus/UK) is a conceptual, media and performance artist whose work includes theatre, choreography, installation, writing and interactive art. Over the last two decades he has led interdisciplinary teams around the world fostering new forms of expression and creating extraordinary artworks that defy easy categorisation. Robert trained as a theatre maker at Dartington College of Arts (England) and as a technologist in The University of Glasgow’s Master of Science in Information Technology (Software and Systems) programme. Robert co-founded two Scottish arts organisations, Reader Performance Group (2001-5) and Fish & Game (2005–), his work has been presented in the UK, USA, Europe and Australia. In 2004 he created the world’s first social networking site for artists with New Work Network funded by Arts Council England. In 2010 he co-created the world’s first piece of iPad Theatre, Alma Mater funded by Creative Scotland. He moved to Australia in 2011 to join the Theatre Department at the Victorian College of Arts, University of Melbourne. Robert co-curated the Australian dance and performance works for Culture 2014, The XX Commonwealth Games (Glasgow). In 2015 Robert initiated In Your Hands, a three-year project with four teams of artists and app developers funded by The Australia Council’s Digital Theatre Initiative. He is the creator of Vanitas, nominated for best Art and Experimental Mobile App at the 2018 Webby Awards and two 2019 Green Room Awards. In 2018 Robert was the Australia Council Artist in Residence at Blast Theory (UK), the world’s preeminent mixed-reality performance and technology arts organisation. In 2019 he was commissioned by the City of Chicago to create a new work for the Year of Chicago Theatre Festival through a series of residencies including being the Jackman Goldwasser Resident Artist at Hyde Park Arts Center and developing the final performance in residence at Chicago Cultural Center. During semester one 2019 he is seconded to the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Engineering, School of Computing and Information Systems to develop Child of Now, a public art work of scale. His website can be found at www.robertwalton.net