Light of Extinction (AU)



Wood, electronics, computation, sound, optics, and robotics

Keith Armstrong and Lawrence English (AU)


Light of Extinction presents a diverse series of views into the complex antics of a semi-autonomous gaggle of robotic actants. Audiences initially enter into the ‘back end’ of the experience only to be rudely confronted with the raw, messy operations of a horde of object-manipulating forms. Seen through viewing apertures, these ‘things’ deny any opportunity to grasp their imagined order. Audiences then move into the ‘front end’ of the work where, now seen through a new aperture, the very same forms seemingly coordinate a stunning deep-field choreography, floating lusciously within inky landscapes of media, noise, and embodied sound.

As one series of conceptions slip into extinction, so others flow in. The idea of the ‘extinction of human experience’ expresses a projected fear for that which will disappear when biodiverse worlds have descended into an era of permanent darkness. Light of Extinction re-positions this anthropomorphic lament in order to suggest a more rounded acknowledgment of what might still remain—suggesting the previously unacknowledged power and place of autonomous, synthetic creation. Momentary disbelief gives way to a relieving celebration of the imagined birth of ‘things’ without need for staples such as conventional light or the harmonious lullabies of long-extinguished sounds.

Light of Extinction is a collaboration with Michael Candy (robotics), Luke Lickfold (sound programming), and Heidi Millington (programming assistance). This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Keith Armstrong is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, part of the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts; and QUT Creative Industries, Queensland Bat Conservation and Rescue, Batwatch Australia. Presented by MAAP-Media Art Asia Pacific with support from The Emerging and Experimental Arts of the Australia Council for the Arts.

Two images of the back-end:
Photo by Bryan Spencer, 2014

Three images of the front-end:
Photo by Alex Wisser, 2013


Artist Bio:

Keith Armstrong
Dr. Keith Armstrong has specialized for eighteen years in collaborative, hybrid, new media works with an emphasis on innovative performance forms, site-specific electronic arts, networked interactive installations, alternative interfaces, public arts practices, and art-science collaborations. His practice-based research focuses on how scientific and philosophical ecologies can both influence and direct the design and conception of networked, interactive media artworks. His work has been extensively exhibited internationally, gaining support from public and private sectors.

Lawrence English
Lawrence English is a media artist, composer, and curator based in Australia. Working across an eclectic array of aesthetic investigations, English’s work prompts questions of field, perception, and memory. He utilizes a variety of approaches including sound, installation, projection, and polymedia objects to create works that meditate on subtle transformations of space and ask audiences to consider that which might sit at the edge of or beyond their perception.