Electronic media artist Jon McCormack was commissioned to create Bloom – a large-scale digital image (45 metres long and nine metros high) that shows mutated and crossbred representations of native Australian flora. He used a software developed by himself. The project focus on the fact that synthesised natures are becoming replacements for the real nature lost in urban environments through human development and progress. Isolated on black background with a clinical eye on them, these images are digital interpretations of native plant species local to the Kelvin Grove area – Melaleuca, Banksia, Hakea, Eucalyptus, Callistemon, Eremaa, Araucaria, and Dryandra.
“Each has a certain softness and synthetic beauty drawing on the dualist nature of synthetic biology’s promise of immense new possibilities. Yet these possibilities may also have a cost to our existing nature and environment.”
The public art billboard at QUT’s Creative Industries Precinct in Kelv
The Creative Industries Precinct at the Queensland University of Technology is home to hundreds of students studying creative pursuits including visual arts, fashion, communication design and journalism. McCormack was one of a dozen top artists approached in 2000 to participate in a focus group on the development of the Creative Industries Precinct as a new media art space.
Jon McCormack is an Australian-based electronic media artist and researcher in computing. He holds an Honours degree in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from Monash University, a Graduate Diploma of Art (Film and Television) from Swinburne University and a PhD in Computer Science from Monash University. He is currently Associate Professor in Computer Science, an ARC Australian Research Fellow and co-director of the Centre for Electronic Media Art (CEMA) at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. CEMA is an interdisciplinary research centre established to explore new collaborative relationships between computing and the arts. His research interests include generative art and design, evolutionary systems, creativity, visualisation, interaction, machine learning, L-systems and developmental models.
Since the late 1980s McCormack has worked with computer code as a medium for creative expression. Inspired by the complexity and wonder of a diminishing natural world, his work is concerned with electronic “after natures” – alternate forms of artificial life that may one day replace the biological nature lost through human progress and development.
His artworks have been widely exhibited at leading galleries, museums and symposia, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA), Tate Gallery (Liverpool, UK), ACM SIGGRAPH (USA), Prix Ars Electronica (Austria) and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Australia). He is the recipient of 16 awards for new media art and computing research including prizes at Ars Electronica (Austria), Images du Futur (Canada), New Voices, New Visions(USA), Alias/Wavefront (USA), The John Lansdown Award for Interactive Media (Europe/UK), Nagoya Biennial (Japan) and the 2012 Eureka Prize for Innovation in Computer Science. The monograph, Impossible Nature: the art of Jon McCormack, was published by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in 2005 and documents McCormack’s creative achievements over the last 15 years.