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Mechatronic Creations: In Conversation with Jim Whiting & Louis-Philippe Demers

12:15pm - 1:15pm 18th August
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Science and Engineering Centre (P Block)

Join two internationally acclaimed artists whose mechatronic creations have enthralled audiences across the globe as they discuss their creative explorations and passions. 

Since the time of da Vinci, artists have used robots and machines in their work to reflect on the impact of these technologies and to explore new means of creative expression. We can also often trace a direct link between the imaginings of artists and scientific inventions.

Kate Eltham

Jim Whiting and Louis-Philippe Demers

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As a small boy, Jim Whiting suffered from rickets and had to wear a corset made of steel and leather at night. His initial nightmares from this experience led to his later creative obsession with mechanical intrusion to the delicate human form. Since then he has become renowned for his robotic installation work, his response to the madness of modern urban life combined with elements from his dysfunctional Catholic upbringing in Africa. In 1984, Whiting achieved an international breakthrough with his work for Herbie Hancock's video “Rockit”. The film earned a Grammy and numerous MTV Awards including Best Art Direction. Since 1996 much of Whiting’s work can be seen at his variety venue, Bimbotown. Based in a former factory in Leipzig where Whiting continues to host parties, the Guardian newspaper recently described the venue in a round up of the best of Germany as “a mix of music, theatre and lots of crazy stuff by artists from all over Europe. His work entitled “Catwalk Woman” is on display at Old Government House.

Louis-Philippe Demers was born in Montreal, Canada and is a multidisciplinary artist who uses machines in large-scale installations and stage productions. His robotics works can be found in theatre, opera, subway stations, art museums, science museums, music events and trade shows and he has collaborated with artists such as: Bill Vorn, Christian Möller, Stelarc, Robert Lepage, Peter Gabriel and Le Cirque du Soleil. His works have been awarded several prizes and have been featured at major international events including Ars Electronica, ISEA, SIGGRAPH and Sonar. In 2001 he became a Professor of Digital Media and Exhibit Design at the Hochschule fuer Gestaltung Karlsruhe, the academic institution affiliated to the world-renowned ZKM in Germany.  He joined Nanyang Technological University in Singapore ‘s School of Art, Design and Media in 2006 and recently took up the position as the Director of the Creative Lab at QUT.