Winner Announced: National New Media Art Award

George Poonkhin Khut | Photograph: QAGOMA

New South Wales-based artist George Poonkhin Khut was today named the winner of the $75,000 National New Media Art Award for 2012.

George Poonkhin Khut’s winning entry Distillery: Waveforming 2012 consists of a clip-on heart monitor, tablet computer and a program that shows the viewer a visual interpretation of their beating heart.

The judging panel said Khut’s work poetically explored the interactions between the mind and body; and art and science. By visually displaying the viewer’s heartbeat the work instantly responds to their changing reactions, creating a continuous biofeedback loop.

The work was originally developed as a relaxation training system for managing the pain and anxiety experienced by children undergoing medical treatment. The judges commended Khut’s creative approach to experimental research, and the great potential it showed for other applications.

George Poonkhin Khut, Australia b. 1969 | Installation of Distillery: Waveforming (Portrait of Lian) | Photograph: QAGOMA
George Poonkhin Khut | Distillery: Waveforming (Portrait of Lian) 2012 | Still from video portraits of sitters interacting with heart rate controlled composition software for iPad | Photograph: Julia Pendrill Charles | Stylist: Troy Brennan | Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Distillery: Waveforming 2012 | Screen capture of heart rate controlled iPad app | Signal analysis software: Angelo Fraietta (Smart Controller) and Tuan M Vu; iOS visual effects software: Jason McDermott (ARUP Informatics), adapted from original code by Greg Turner | Photograph: Courtesy the artist | © The artist

The selection committee also highly commended Kirsty Boyle’s Tree ceremony, which they said engaged beautifully with the history and cultural implications of robotics; and Robin Fox’s CRT: homage to Léon Theremin, a subtle re-viewing of obsolete media, and a sophisticated yet playful interactive installation.

In addition to the main prize, the National New Media Art Award also incorporates the Queensland New Media Scholarship, which is now open for entries. This $25,000 travel and study scholarship for an emerging new media artist living and working in Queensland aims to foster and assist in developing aspects of creative practice in new media. Entries for the scholarship close on September 14 and the successful applicant will be announced on 22 October 2012.

You can view the award exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) until 4 November 2012 which is accompanied by a richly illustrated publication.