Experimenta Life Forms – – COMMISSION ARTIST

Artist: Dominic Redfern (VIC)
Artwork: first forms

The multi-screen video installation first forms centres on cyanobacteria, the single-celled algae that created the conditions for complex life to arise on earth 800 million years ago. 

first forms is a development from several installations Redfern has made around urban waterways, looking at the relationship between human and non-human histories. Still working with water, first forms delves into the history of all multi-celled life forms by focusing on the critical role of cyanobacteria. When uninterrupted they slowly build up stromatolites (sometimes called living fossils) which Redfern will capture at various scales from landscape down to the microscopic. The installation combines footage of cyanobacteria in the laboratory and location recordings of the stromatolites in Western Australia creating an image of pre-Cambrian earth and revealing the simple beauty of this environment.

Read an ‘in development’ interview with the artists HERE

For over a decade Redfern’s practice considered how our identities are modulated and effected by media before moving into working with site in an increasingly realist mode. Using the landscape and still life genres to create portraits of ecosystems he considers the manner in which we are enmeshed within them.

Redfern has exhibited locally and internationally, and his work has been supported by all three levels of government in Australia from various municipalities on up to the Australian Research Council as well the Australia Council for the Arts and state arts funding bodies. He has an abiding curiosity concerning art’s centrality to human existence which informs his teaching at RMIT University.


Experimenta Life Forms International Triennial of Media Art

Exploring how biological and artificial life are challenging human-centric thinking, Experimenta Life Forms will be Experimenta’s 8th national touring exhibition. It premieres in 2021 and will tour nationally until 2023. Click here to find out more.

‘first forms’ by Dominic Redfern is an Experimenta Commission.

Image credit: Calotis moorei (Moore’s burr daisy) by Dominic Redfern, video still, 2015