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Professor Ross Harley

Professor Ross Harley


Professor Ross Harley is the Dean of the faculty of the College of Fine Arts, UNSW and a Board Member of NIEA. He has an international reputation as a researcher and producer of new media. His work has been shown in international galleries, museums, festivals and television contexts (including NY MoMA, the Pompidou Centre, The New Museum NYC, Sydney Opera House, Ars Electronica and ISEA) and is held in collections in Australia and abroad (Cinesound, Griffith Artworks, NY MoMA, VideoDataBank, ABC and SBS TV). In 1986 he curated the seminal Know Your Product for the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. This exhibition brought together recordings, videos, artworks, posters and fanzines from the burgeoning punk and post-punk scene in Brisbane. Urszula Szulakowska's book Experimental Art in Queensland 1975–1995 claims that Know Your Product was “probably the most important exhibition mounted by the IMA”.

From 1986-91, Harley was Managing Editor, then Editor, of the controversial art-theory journal, Art + Text, which, being at the forefront of the postmodern debate, had considerable impact upon the contemporary art scene in Australia. In 1992, he was the director of the influential International Symposium on Electronic Art, TISEA. According to Darren Tofts‘ Interzone, TISEA was “ a singular, defining event in the history of media arts in Australia”, bringing together international pioneers such as Myron Krueger, Char Davies, Ulrike Gabriel, David Blair and Luc Courschene with young Australian artists who have since become key figures in the development of media arts in Australia. Between 1994 and 1996, Harley produced and toured An Eccentric Orbit: Electronic Media Art in Australia with Peter Callas and Alessio Cavallaro. This was a large survey exhibition of Australian media art from the 1970s to 1990s, and was commissioned by the American Federation of Arts and the Australian Film Commission.

Harley has edited a number of anthologies on electronic media art practice and theory, including New Media Technologies (1993) and Artists in Cyberculture (1993). Harley edited two special issues of the British journal, Convergence—"Before and After Cinema" (1999) and "Parallel Histories in the Intermedia Age" (2000) — bringing together articles on the relationship between early cinema and contemporary media. His own media projects utilise audio-visual technologies to creatively analyse the relationship between contemporary culture and technology. The release of Aviopolis: A Book About Airports (Fuller + Harley, 2004) together with the associated website, CD-ROM and DVD has firmly established his reputation as a leading new media researcher in the field of ‘mobility studies’. 

Current research projects include:

  • Reconsidering Australian Media Art Histories, an online database of media art and artists that documents and foregrounds Australian contributions to the field of media arts (ARC funded).
  • Scanlines: Video Art in Australia Since the 1960s, also ARC funded.
  • ARC Linkage Project investigating the history of video art in Sydney in partnership with dLux Media Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney and fellow COFA artist, John Gillies.
  • “My Own Private Airspace”, a multichannel video of personal airflights and itineraries.
  • “Loomorama“,  a collaborative installation project with Elvis Richardson based on personal archives of VHS tapes and VJ presentation tools. 
  • Harley is Lead Chief Investigator on the ARC LIEF project, Design & Art Australia Online (DAAO), with DAAO Research Director and long-time collaborator, Dr Gillian Fuller.

Ross Harley was awarded a Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence in 2008. He is currently Deputy Director at NIEA, and a Faculty member of the iCinema Centre for Interactive Cinema Research.