Mind Games 2018 by Julia Featherstone & Josh Harle

Mind Games (2018) is an interactive simulacra artwork by collaborators Julia Featherstone and Josh Harle that explores our complex and evolving relationships to technology, machine learning, camera surveillance and digital avatars. As participants enter the exhibition space, they see themselves mirrored as a cyborg on a digital screen––which causes them to respond in diverse and unexpected ways. Some participants are delighted and engage in physical movement and dance with the cyborg. Others are more introspective and engage in contemplative conversation. Occasionally, some viewers fold their arms, waiting for the cyborg to respond, reflecting the artist David Rokeby’s (1996) observation that “people sometimes feel irritation when faced with an interactive artwork, because they feel their behaviour is being judged”. In this case the simulacra will cross their arms, sharing the ambivalent interaction.

Rebirth of Venus 2018 by Julia Featherstone

Rebirth of VenusJulia Featherstone, Rebirth of Venus, 2018, Photo collage on canvas
She’s the AI goddess who can see all the way to infinity
From my song: Atomic Goddess  (Julia Featherstone / Peter Head).
Rebirth of Venus (2018)transmutes Botticelli’s mythical painting of Venus (1486) into the Age of Cyborgs – a goddess emerges from the sea after her own birth as a fully-grown woman. In this photo collage, the Goddess of Fertility transcends herself to mirror the Virgin Mary’s immaculate conception with two babies in the womb, exclaiming: ‘I’d rather be a cyborg than a goddess!’



The Big Bang 2016 by Julia Featherstone

‘The Big Bang’ is the first animation of my painting series ‘History of Humans’ painted across 9 hollow core, wooden doors (1.8M x 800cm), with the final installation (1.8M x 7.2M).

The process involved paint, a camera and 3 softwares. Matisse Acrylic paints –  black gesso for the darkness of the void with Matisse Structure paints for the bursts of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, as light waves emerge from the void in the centre. JPGs (1920 x 1080 px) were shot on my Canon Mark 3 camera. I used Quicktime7 to animate the sequence and Cubase 8.5 to compose the music, ‘Atomic Woman’. The final edits and merging of image and music were completed in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6.

The final series ‘History of Humans’ will include:

1. The Big Bang 2. ‘Creation of Stars’ 3. Chemical Complexity (stars collapse) 4. Planetary Systems (Sun and Earth) 5. First Life on Earth (photosynthesis, oxygen) 6. Human Communication (collective learning) 7. Agriculture and Energy 8. Industrial Revolution (Carbon, Anthropocene, Artificial intelligence) 9. Red Giant (Our Sun loses energy, expands into a red giant causing the annihilation of Earth and our solar system.

PhD Application Portfolio by Julia Featherstone

Download the Powerpoint portfolio with links to my movies (Vimeo) in Powerpoint Slide Show view.  Julia_Featherstone_PhD_Portfolio_9.6MB


Paintings just completed

And Her Ghost May Be Heard

My painting inspired by the  mysterious Min Min Lights that scare and follow travellers near the Winton-Boulia road in outback QLD. The ghost of Mary McKenzie, my Scottish great-grandmother, contemplates  the billabong where  gave birth to her first baby in 1881 while travelling alone with a bullock wagon to meet her husband in Boulia. Golden waves link Mary to the ephemeral light. Musical notes resonate Banjo Patterson’s ballad, Waltzing Matilda, 1896, while a galah and cockatoos screech across the Cawnpore Hills.


Julia Featherstone, And Her Ghost May Be Heard 2015. Diptych. Mixed media on board, 240 x 234cm.

Circles of Time

Atomic particles spin within humans, plants, animals, rocks and all  matter in the universe. This painting imagines the spinning atomic particles  at twilight.


Julia Featherstone, Circles of Time, 2015. Acrylic on canvas.

Moonlight Sonata

Moonlight Sonata explores the emotional impact of the full moon and artificial light on human perception when alone at night in the desert landscape. Looked interesting when projected onto the roof of a workingman’s cottage @ Beams Art Festival, Chippendale Creative Arts Precinct, on 18-19 September, 2015.

Kenso Street

090713-Cordillo-Downs_Moonstruck09_1920x1080 080720-Boulia_Bourke-River_Moonlight_17_1920x1080 080720-Boulia_Bourke-River_Moonlight_03_1920x1080 080718-Old-Cordillo-Road_Moonlight_14_1920x1080 080718-Old-Cordillo-Rd_Moonlight_2_1920x1080


The Red Desert Project

Beneath Horizons: Australian Desert Landscape - MFA exhibition14

The Red Desert Project installed 2.5 billion grains of red desert sand on the floor of an urban gallery for city-dwellers to walk barefoot and be ‘out there’ in the emptiness. This immersive exhibition was integral to my studio-based Master of Fine Arts degree at COFA, UNSW. The images are video stills from HD video projections. Left: Moonlight Sonata (Simpson Desert, SA); Centre:  Gibson’s Compass (Simpson Desert, SA); Right: Alchemy of the Sun (Lake Disappointment, Little Sandy Desert, WA) >  See MFA14

Stuck in the Mud


A ceramic work that is part of a series about getting bogged and stuck in the Simpson Desert for 11 days,  3-13 September 2010. Alasdair Macfarlane drove over 12 kilos of Keane’s Stoneware33 clay wrapped in gladwrap.

IMG_3144I let the clay  dry for 2 weeks, then bisque fired, circa 1,000 degreesC. Painted  3x  glazes – Satin Black, Copper Red and Chun. Finally, Petra Svoboda, COFA ceramics, reduction fired the work in a gas kiln for 10 hours, circa 1280 degreesC. Big thanks  to COFA ceramic lecturers, Jacqueline Clayton and Julie Bartholomew, for advice and help on how to realise the work.


Gibon’s Compass

The video explores  internal compass,  beliefs, mis-beliefs and the desires for new horizons. Inspired by the Gibson Desert and Alfred Gibson who, in 1874,  lusted after Ernest Giles’s compass, even though he did not know how to use it.  The video opens with a  red compass resting on a slatted wooden table.  A figure enters,  picks up the two objects, and walks across the claypan, shrinking towards the vanishing point on the horizon line. https://vimeo.com/45287392

Alasdair Macfarlane and I  took  11 days to winch and pull ourselves through the muddy claypans of the Simpson Desert to Birdsville. Gibson disappeared in 1874 when he went searching for water with Giles’s compass. His body was never found, despite days of searching and the Gibson Desert is named in his memory.

Exhibitions:  Blake Prize 2012 Director’s Cut Exhibition http://www.blakeprize.com/galleries/directors-cut?yr=2012&page=3;          Desert Equinox FestivalNight-Sun-Days screening, Broken Hill, 1-23 September, 2012;  Half a Desk exhibition, Kudos Gallery, Paddington, 15-18 August, 2012.

Michaelangelo’s Cave

May 6: Postcard: Michaelangelo’s Cave: Sculptor Lea Ferris sent me a postcard of the quarry in the Apuan Alps near Pietrasanta, Tuscany, Italy,  where the marble for Michaelangelo’s David 1501-04 and other white marble sculptures was mined. I love the steep slopes, texture and zig-zag road… and memory of place

May 6: POSTCARD:  Michaleangelo’s Cave after digging in Photoshop > Filters > Stylise > Find Edges