Dr Eleanor Gates-Stuart is a visual media artist who focus is primarily on scientific exploration and technology, both in the advancement of innovation and in communicating her artistic practice in new and innovative ways, questioning and engaging audience in art, science and technology. Working with major research organisations, museums, business and government her scope of artistic creativity and research interests are extensive and includes interactive exhibits and the application of innovative materials such as the ‘Bugs’, titanium insects and ‘Hot Seeds’ holographic works.
She was awarded Scitech’s Innovation in Art Residency 2016 for her project, ‘Under the Surface’ based on mining and mineral exploration in Western Australia, in association with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Mineral Resources Flagship. Gates-Stuart’s active research involves site visits, such as travelling deep underground at the Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) Super Pit and visiting Data & Core Repositories at GeoScience Australia and the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) in WA.
Her multimedia project, StellrScope, was awarded to Gates-Stuart’s by the Centenary of Canberra’s major Science Art Commission supported by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government and the Australian Government, 2013. Celebrating 100 years of wheat, from the days of experimentalist William Farrer through to current science innovation of today, CSIRO was the host for this research, engaging Gates-Stuart as the Science Art Fellow. She received a Canberra Critic’s Circle Award for StellrScope.
Her international research in Science and Art is diverse and collaborative; she is an Honorary Professorial Fellow, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts at the University of Wollongong and former Professor in Techno Art at the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), Taiwan. She holds a PhD in Science Communication, Communicating Science: Exploring Science though Art, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, Australian National University, and supported by the CSIRO and with both she remains a Visiting Research Scholar.
Selected as a participant for the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI), a program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, ‘The Deep Blue Sea 2016’, she continues the momentum of the ‘think tank’ synergy of NAKFI with scientists and artists in the USA. Other international projects include her current collaboration with the Orchid Research and Development Center at National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan.
Awards and positions
- Honorary Professorial Fellow, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts at the University of Wollongong 2017- 2020
- National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) Alumnus 2016 (USA)
- Innovation Art: Artist in Residence working on the edges of technology and science, Scitech 2016
- Professorship: National Cheng Kung University (Techno Arts) 2015 – 17
- CSIRO PhD Research Studentship, CSIRO Digital Productivity and Services Flagship (2014)
- Canberra Critics' Circle Award, 2013
- Centenary Science Art Commission, 2012
- Taiwan Research Visiting Scholar Grant, 2008
My arts practice aligns with science, in that I am interested in unfolding stories of advanced knowledge within the complexity of scientific information and use of future technologies, including historical data. My interest in science was prompted at an early age, although I did not follow this as my career path, instead the joys of experimentation, and pushing materials beyond their limits, fuelled my creativity and later in combining my practice as science and arts.
Two major installation project artworks were, ‘StellrScope’ and ‘Under the Surface’ with a current project, ‘Blood Fusion’ in progress. Each project has flourished in multiple art forms, addressing the ‘scientific’ content, working in collaboration and the creation of new work.
‘The term, ‘feel the blood running through my veins’ is often used to describe our emotions, our mood, feelings or anxiety, especially when we are feeling ‘pumped’ and full of energy or highly charged. If we acknowledge that plants are intelligent, responsive and adaptable, how would they react or be impacted if we share our DNA? What could we learn from the plants that might show benefits of this fusion and would we gain an insight to the effects on the plants system? This project is in collaboration with the Orchid Research and Development Center at National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan.
Under the Surface
Changes to the surface of the earth make it near impossible to predict what lies under the surface as the natural traces of elements are increasing difficult to detect and depend on innovative technology for exploration and mining methods. My ‘Under the Surface’ series focuses on mining and minerals, the innovation and technology involved in looking under the earth’s surface, working with research scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines.
Visualising innovation is a crucial part of this research and with it, the context of scientific brilliance, as it places Australia at the cutting edge of global science. In tackling such an artistic project, the processes involved are not always predetermined and respond much more to the direction of ideas, content building, researching and an aesthetic understanding and construct for creating the artwork. These works result from trips to mining sites, experiencing the mineshafts, recording data in mineral repositories, documenting the journey, learning the science and gathering stories.
‘Under the Surface’ images are constructed video content for hemispherical projection that requires a two video track process where one layer is part removed by body detection to reveal new information. As the images require several layers of manipulation first, the composition of elements (CT scans, 3D animation stills, 3D models & sketches) are combined to create a visual aesthetic that is a result of scientific information and artist collaboration. The images are an important step in the creation of the video and also artworks as singular images.
‘StellrScope’, the first hemispherical projection work, builds on a story connecting the Canberra region to Australia’s major crop, celebrating 100 years of wheat innovation from the days of William Farrer through to the present day research undertaken at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), namely in the Future Foods Flagship and Computational Informatics. In coining the term StellrScope, to describe translating information complexity into a simplistic visual rendering of meaning, is significant in such a project where the volume of scientific information is possibly overwhelming for non-scientists and requires a comprehensive visual interpretation. Works in this series, include holograms, interactive domes and floor installation, 3D titanium printed insects, architectural projection mapping, a 3D volumetric display, and printed artworks.
Artworks are held in many public and private collections, UK, Australia, Germany, USA and Taiwan
- Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, (2015)
- CSIRO Discovery Centre, (2014)
- ACT Government Legislative Assembly Collection, (2014)
- University of New South Wales, Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), (2014)
- Private Collections