The BioPods project was developed for the Bundanon Trust annual Siteworks 2014 festival but is also the debut project of When Art meets Science a three year ARC (Australian Research Council) project conducted between the artist and cultural and environmental researchers at Macquarie University; with The Bundanon Trust and the Australia Council for the Arts as partners.  Read a synopsis of the ARC project below.


The BioPod waiting to be towed into position.

BioPods is a proof of concept prototype for a series of site-specific, micro-architectural sculptures which are designed to facilitate active listening in the natural environment and

thus create an aggregated narrative of aural experience. The concept is to provide a capsule for an overnight acoustic vigil for a single person.  Positioned in a sonically significant site on the Bundanon property the BioPod provides a unique situation that combines sculptural, architectural and acoustic experiences.


Ah I love rowing – a forgotten art really! Towing the BioPod into its moored position.

Participants are invited to record their sonic surroundings and a personal digital narrative as a contribution to an ongoing digital archive – a type of ship’s log. Imagine a meditation cell, an escape pod, a re-entry capsule, an Ark in which an overnight acoustic reverie can be recorded by the pod’s user-friendly, on-board digital audio system.


Preparing the audio recording system, one field recording mike and one studio voice mike.

Listen up to – When science meets art #1 – the BioPod – Soundproof – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

And for prospective visitors; here are some tips from the BioPod Survival Manual:-

Our species makes a lot of noise ~ we have created a world in which silence is a rare commodity.  The BioPod invites you to spend an overnight acoustic vigil where you can maintain your silence and listen to the voices of other species.
During your overnight stay you are invited to make a series of short audio recordings of the soundscape and to also record a personal audio-log reflecting on your experience.  Please also sign the visitors book and leave a short written commentary.


DrSonique makes some finishing touches and Cecelia tests the rig.

Some tips to ensure your stay is pleasant and safe.

The BioPod experience is from Dusk to Dawn and it is expected that you will spend most of your time inside the tent structure, listening, recording and relaxing.  Please keep the insect screens closed for your convenience (insect repellent wipes are provided).  Please also remove your shoes to ensure the interior is kept as clean as possible.

Safety on-board:

1. When moving about on the BioPod platform please take extreme caution as there are numerous trip hazards and the deck is coated in a waterproof membrane which can be slippery when wet.

2. Whilst the lake is only about one metre deep there is a life-jacket onboard and we suggest that you wear this when moving about on the platform or rowing to and fro the structure.

3. There is a head mounted lamp on-board (you charge this by winding the small crank) please use this when moving outside the tent structure.

Listen to an audio mix of environmental sound recorded on-site.

Bodily needs:

1. Sleeping; the BioPod is equipped with a camp bed and sleeping bag.  Please use the cotton sheet liner provided.

2. Nourishment; there are basic provisions, drinking water and a thermos of hot water to ensure you won’t starve to death.

3. The call of nature; there is a bucket on-board for that midnight pee, for anything more serious please row yourself ashore and use the toilet block.

imageimagePre SiteWorks event inspection – all shipshape and Bristol Fashion!

Recording equipment:

1.  You will be given a short induction to the audio recording equipment upon arrival.  The gear has been kept to the minimum and is easy to operate, being based upon an iPad system.  There are two microphones, a shotgun (housed in the ‘blimp’) and a voice mike mounted on the desk.  The blimp does not need to be placed outside as the tent fly-screen door is acoustically transparent all you need to do is place the stand in an appropriate position.

2. Power is 12 volt DC and is supplied from the battery case below the desk.

You will be ‘de-briefed’ in the morning and asked for some fee-back.

Enjoy your reverie.

imageimageThe SiteWorks evening events commence, ready for the first visitor to embark.

An Abstract of the project.

When Science Meets Art: an Environmental Portrait of the Shoalhaven River Valley.

This project emerged in response to a need from industry partner the Bundanon Trust to increase public knowledge of both the natural and cultural heritage of its site in the Shoalhaven River Valley, NSW. The Trust sought an innovative project that would increase the understanding of both the region’s natural environment of 1100 hectares of bushland overlooking the Shoalhaven River, and its cultural history, including indigenous history and the modernist art milieu associated with Arthur Boyd.

A research team was assembled to include expertise in environmental science, media theory, sound art and technology, cultural history and interactive art. The project involves the creation of an interactive audio-visual portrait of the region, incorporating both a representation of the natural environment and its cultural history.


Casting off!

This art-based research project uses art as a medium to examine environmental values and cultural history, changing locals’ and visitors’ perception of the area and its environment. The project has received the support of industry partner The Australia Council, which, through its Synapse initiative, aims to foster collaboration between artists and scientists in the creation of contemporary art works.