Sonic Objects; Sonic Architecture
Dr. Nigel Llwyd William Helyer


sonic <@>
sonique1 <@>

62 MacGibbon Parade,
Old Erowal Bay
NSW 2540 Australia
Mobile: +614 19 49 34 95

Mobile: +61 (0)4 19 49 34 95

Introduction: –

The small Sussex fishing village in which I spent my childhood contained two significant buildings, significant not for their formal qualities, they were both simple cottages, but because one had been the home William Blake the poet, whist the other, ‘Comet Cottage’ was named for the astronomer Halley. Without being conscious of the fact, I grew up in a cosmos in which the arts and science were intertwined, it has marked my endeavours ever since.

Dr. Nigel Llwyd William Helyer. is an independent sculptor and sound-artist who has forged an international reputation for large scale sound-sculpture installations, environmental public artworks and inter-active new-media projects for museums and festivals.  Nigel’s practice is strongly interdisciplinary, linking a broad platform of creative practice with scientific research and development in both Academic and Industrial contexts, in a complex meeting of Poetics and Technics, which he augments with an active interest in critical writing, curation and advocacy.

One of the hallmarks of his career is his commitment to collaborative and co-creative activity, expanding the boundaries of experimental trans-disciplinary practice, especially in the areas of Art and Science and Bio-Arts.  He was an early collaborator with, and advisor to, the SymbioticA lab (UWA) realising such projects as; GeneMusiK, a prototype biological music remixing system, Host a sonic installation with live insects that has toured internationally (Ars Electronica,;Transitio MX; Science Gallery Dublin etc).  He was also the Artistic Director of the infamous LifeBoat project shown in Oslo Fjord 2004, on a Baltic cruise ship during ISEA 2004 and in Zagreb 2006.

Nigel has also worked as an artist & researcher at the Paul Scherrer Institut, Switzerland (as part of the Artists in Labs programme); with the Tropical Marine Research Labs at the National University of Singapore and he maintains a working relationship with the Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco. Nigel has held visiting Professorial positions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Stanford University; the department of Architectural Acoustics (USYD) and the School of Computer Science and Engineering (UNSW); the Institute for Marine and Antarctic studies (UTAS) and currently in Media and Arts at Macquarie University.

He was Head of Sculpture at the Sydney College of the Arts (USYD) 1985~1990, when he left academia to take up creative research, developing the powerful virtual audio-reality mapping system, Sonic Landscapes in collaboration with Lake Technology (now Dolby Australia).

He subsequently became the Artistic Director of the AudioNomad Research Group creating the AudioNomad location-sensitive environmental audio system at the School of Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW (funded under a Synapse ARC grant) which produced a series of substantial national and international exhibitions Syren, aboard the MV Opera in the Baltic Sea (ISEA2004), Syren for Port Jackson (MCA Sydney 2006), Run Silent Run Deep (National Museum of Singapore ISEA2008), Ecolocated (Belfast ISEA2009 + FACT in the AND Festival Liverpool 2009) and the GhosTrain Project (ABC + The Performance Space 2009/2010).

A recent creative initiative concerns the sonification and musicalisation of environmental data.  This method has been developed for a series of cultural and environmental audio-portraits, VoxAura, the River is Singing, for Turku, European Capital of Culture 2011; CrayVox, the result of a three month sojourn with the Cray-fishing community on the remote Houtman Abrohlos islands (WA); When Science meets Art, a three year ARC project with the Bundanon Trust 2014/7; and Under the Icecap, a long-term collaboration with Dr Mary-Anne Lea of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and the Conservatorium of Music (UTAS) which investigates the sonic potentials of bio-logging data collected by Southern Elephant seals from the Southern Oceans realised as live music performance.

Some of Nigel’s most recent international collaboration (x5 artists and x3 curators) have been the realisation of Nomanslanding, an immersive multi-channel acoustic architecture that presents a crossing over a water body.  This work that addresses concepts of conflict and reconciliation was recently shown in Darling Harbour (Sydney) and is currently touring to the Ruhr Triennale 2015 and Glasgow 2016. In 2018 he realised a major project for the European Capital of Culture (Leeuwarden, Fryslân) developing three Bee-Listening architectures in Botanic gardens in Holland and Germany entitled Oratorio for a Million Souls. At the close of 2018 he launched a major public artwork Two Islands for the City of Hobart.

Primary website:

Studio contact:

62 MacGibbon Parade,
Old Erowal Bay
NSW 2540 Australia
Mobile: +614 19 49 34 95


• DCA – University of Technology Sydney 1997
• MARCA in Environmental Media – The Royal College of Art, London, UK 1979
• BA Honours Sculpture – Liverpool College of Art, UK. 1974
• Foundation Studies – West Sussex College of Design, UK 1971


•School of Sound, Southbank London
•Artist in Residence Oro Island Finland


• Two Islands Public Art commission for Franklin Square, Hobart, Tasmania 2016/8.
• Oratorio for a Million Souls, Leeuwarden European Capital of Culture 2018.
• NomansLanding, Ruhr Triennale, Germany 2015 and Merchant city festival Glasgow 2016.
• BioPods_series_02 The Bundanon Trust, NSW 2015.
• Oratorio for a Million Souls, Leeuwarden Capital of Culture 2018.
• BioPods_01 for Siteworks, Bundanon Trust NSW 2014/15.
• GeneMusik, VryFest, Bloemfontein South Africa 2014.
• Bee Architecture, Melliferopolis project, Helsinki 2014.
• Bristle Public Art Commission, Macquarie University 2012/13
• Landfall, Public Art Commission, Port Coogee Maritime Building, WA 2012
• VoxAura, Public Art Commission for European Capital of Culture, Turku, Finland 2011
• Radiolarians, Public Art Commission, City of Lake Macquarie Gallery, NSW 2010
• Padme, Public Art Commission, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2009
• Zephyr II, Public Art Commission, Geraldton City, WA 2009-2012
• Wireless House, Public Art Commission, City of Sydney, NSW 2007/8
• Ondes, Public Art Commission,  Henderson Marine facility, WA 2007
• AudioMaze, Public Art Commission, WA Blind Association 2007
• Talking Sticks, commission for the Exploratorium Museum San Francisco, 2006
• Lotus, Public Art Commission, ECU, Perth Western Australia, 2006
• Swarm, Helen Lempriere Sculpture Award Melbourne Victoria, 2006
• Theorem, prototype interactive audio sculpture for Paul Scherrer Institut, Switzerland, 2005
• Chant in the National Sculpture Prize, Australian National Gallery Melb, VIC 2005
• Syren, on the cruise liner ‘Opera’ commission for ISEA2004 Finland 2004
• LifeBoat, in Oslo Fjord and on the ‘Opera’ , commission for ISEA2004 Finland 2004
• Meta-Diva II, Helen Lempriere Sculpture Award (winner) 2002
• Meta-Diva I, 9 Dragon Head Festival Lake Teachong, Korea 1999
• Dual Nature, Public Art Commission, City of Sydney Sculpture Walk, 1999
• Drift, commission for Hull Time Based Arts Hull, UK, October,1999
• Ship to Shore, commission for ISEA98 Liverpool, UK, 1998
• Metro-Discipline 2, commission for Metropolitan Dreams in the Helsinki subway system,1997
• Audio Retrospective, Muu Media Festival/Finland Telecom, Helsinki, Finland 1996
• Vox Gryphon, commission for Centennial Park Trust, Sydney, 1995
• The Factory Spirit, commission for Chiang Mai Social Installation Festival 1993
• An UnRequited Space, intervention/broadcast project for Working in Public, Sydney, 1992
• Re-Defining Functionalism, commission for University of Technology Sydney 1991
• Chamber Work, commission for the University of San Jose, California, 1988
• Din-Ding-Dang-Dong, commission for Seoul Olympic Park, 1988


• The Deluge (Ark)ive, Curtin Gallery WA 2016 and Moonah Art Centre Tasmania 2017.
• Landscape/Portrait, Macquarie University Gallery 2017.
• Songs from the UnderWorld_V3 Grey)( Area Gallery, Croatia, 2014.
• WYSSA, all my love Darling, Kelly’s Garden, Salamanca Arts Centre 2013
• Breathless, Sound Reasons public sound installation Delhi India November 2012
• Milk and Honey, for SiteWorks, Bundanon Trust NSW September 2012
• BioLogging, International BioLogging Conference Hobart, TAS 2011
• GhosTrain Stage 2 The Carriageworks, Sydney, NSW 2009
• Syren for Port Jackson, MCA, Sydney, NSW 2006
• BioSonics, Western Plains Museum and Art Gallery, Dubbo, NSW 2008
• Quint de Loup II, Tin Sheds Gallery, USYD Sydney, NSW 2007
• KelleRadioActive, IASKA, WA 2005
• Theorem in the Kunst Museum Luzern, AiL project, Luzern, Switzerland, 2005
• The Naughty Apartment in Biennale of Electronic Arts (BEAP), Fremantle, WA 2004
• The Naughty Apartment, RMIT Project Space, Melbourne, VIC 2003
• Gone to Earth, Boutwell-Draper Gallery Sydney, NSW 2003
• NoiseFloor, Stanford University Gallery, Stanford, California, USA 2003
• Two or Three things I Know…, School of Sound, South Bank, London, UK 2003
• Host_V3,  Auditori Contemporary Art Museum, Alicante, 2003
• Host_V2, Metronom Gallery, Barcelona, Spain,  2003
• Metamorphoses II, AGNSW , Sydney, NSW during summer 2000/1
• Leaven, Palm House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, NSW 1999
• Transit of Venus, Kiasma (New Museum of Modern Art) Helsinki, Finland 1999
• Metamorphoses, Elizabeth Bay House, Sydney, NSW 1997
• Silent Forest, San Francisco Institute of Art, San Franciso, USA 1997
• Toll, Galerie Muu, Helsinki, Finland 1996
• Silent Forest, Beta Annandale gallery, Sydney NSW 1995
• Gyro Diva II, George Fraser Gallery, Auckland, NZ 1994
• Aura, Annandale Gallery, Sydney NSW 1993
• Gyro Diva, Artspace, Sydney NSW 1993
• Siren Song, AGNSW, Sydney NSW 1992
• The Lament, WINDOW Gallery, Sydney 1991
• Mute in TalkTown, The Performance Space, Sydney, NSW 1990
• Big Bell Beta, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, WA 1989/1990
• Et Eritus Sicut De, University of Tasmania Gallery, Hobart, TAS 1986
• Fruits of the Earth…,Museum of Western Australia, Perth WA1984
• Voyages–Hercules, Portsmouth, UK 1984
• Voyages–Ophichus, Nexus Gallery, Fremantle, WA 1983
• Re-Entry Vehicle, Spectro Gallery, Newcastle-u-Tyne, UK 1981
• Lieux de Relations, Lyon, France 1981
• Wunch, Galerie Marina Dinkler, Berlin, Germany 1981


• SPPS, Semi-Permeable, PowerHouse Museum, ISEA2013
• Songs from the UnderGround public sound installation SCANZ New Plymouth NZ 2013
• CrayVox in Space(d) Art out of Place Biennale, Fremantle Art Center, Fremantle WA 2012
• VoxAEther in the Asian Art Biennale, Taiwan 2011
• Weeping Willow in International Symposium of Electronic Art (ISEA), Istanbul, Turkey 2011
• VoxAEther in the Queensland Premiers New Media Award, GoMA, Brisbane, QLD 2010
• Run Silent Run Deep, National Museum of Singapore, ISEA, Singapore 2008
• Host_V5 in Transitio_02, Mexico City, Mexico 2007
• Host_V4 in Symbiotica Group exhibition in Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria, 2007
• LifeBoat at the Touch Me Festival Zagreb 2005
• Everything’s Nice With American Rice Echigo-Tsumari Triennale, Japan 2003
• Seed in the Biennale of Electronic Arts, Perth, WA 2002
• Magnus-Opus Garage Festival, Straslund, Germany, 2002
• Deluge in the Artist Biennale, Adelaide Festival of Arts, Adelaide, SA 2002
• Ariel II in Orbital, CCP, Melbourne, VIC 2000
• Ariel I in Orbital, Lux Gallery, London, UK 2000
• Transit of Venus_V2, Auckland City New Gallery in SoundCulture, Auckland, NZ 1999
• Din as part of the Innenseit Projekt, Kassel, Germany 1997
• Silent Forest, National Gallery of Victoria as part of Contempora 5, Melb, VIC 1997
• Oracle, Museum of Contemporary Art, in Sound in Space,  Sydney, NSW 1995
• Gyro the Video in SoundCulture Tokyo, Japan, 1993
• La Zona del Silencio, Mexico and the Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 1992/93
• Tone Buddhas, in SoundCulture, ABC Ultimo Studio, Sydney, NSW 1991
• Bell Transfer, in Ars Electronica Linz, Austria 1989v
• Europa Da Da Dumb, Bicentennial Perspecta Stuttgart Kunstverien, Stuttgart, Germany 1988
• Die Melodie der Welt, Bicentennial Perspecta, AGNSW, Sydney, NSW 1987
• Preaching to the Coverter, AGNSW Perspecta, Sydney, NSW 1985
• All that Glitters; Terra Nullis, National Gallery Victoria Sculpture Triennale, Melb, VIC 1984


• Drawn from Sound, Australia Council for the Arts, Sydney, 2014.
• Sounds like Art, Kasa Gallery Istanbul 2014.
• Looks Like Art, MEP Exhibition London, 2014.
• Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee, Intra-actions, MOP Gallery Sydney 2013
• Songs from the UnderWorld II, Easy Listening, Grey Space, Melbourne, 2013
• Drawn with Sound, Spectrum Gallery, ECU, Perth WA 2013
• CrayVox_V3 West Coast Art Award, Geraldton WA 2013.
• Under the Icecap in Living Data at Muse Gallery Sydney, National Science Week 2012
• CrayVox_V2 (Touring version) in Space(d) Plimsoll Gallery UTAS Hobart, September 2012
• Weeping Willow x12 channel installation John Curtin Gallery WA.
• Host_V6 with SymbioticA as part of Visceral, Dublin Science Museum, Dublin, Ireland 2011
• Law of the Tongue in Klangi, Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum, Turku, Finland 2010
• Adrift in Memory Flows, The Armoury, Sydney, NSW 2010
• Adrift in Memory Flows, The Carriageworks, Sydney, NSW 2009
• Silent Forest in Nam Bang,  Casula PowerHouse Arts Centre, Casula, NSW 2009
• Transformer in Sculpture in The Vineyards, Wollombi, NSW 2008
• Spinner in Sculpture in The Vineyards, Wollombi, NSW 2007
• Who Cares, Boutwell Draper Gallery, Sydney, NSW 2006
• Naughty Apartment, in What Survives, The Performance Space, Sydney, NSW 2006
• The Butterfly Effect, The Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW 2005
• Entangle in You are here, Fremantle,  WA 2005
• Spinner, McClelland Sculpture Exhibition and Award,  VIC 2005
• Chant in Buddha: Radiant Awakening exhibition at AGNSW, Sydney, NSW 2001/2
• Seed in SoundCulture, ASU Gallery, Phoenix Arizona, USA 2002
• Caliban’s Children, TMAG/Solar Circuit, Hobart, TAS 2002
• Caliban’s Children in CrossTalk, Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney, NSW 2001
• ReCirculations; A Techno-Poetics, Chiang Mai University Gallery, Thailand 1994
• ReCirculations; A Techno-Poetics,  Silpakorn University, Bangkok, Thailand 1993
• Hybrid, USIS Gallery, Chiang Mai, Thailand 1992


• Series of six episodes and one feature “When Science meets Art for ABC Radio, EP1 BioPods.
• Broadcast for Intermission on Stress FM, Lisbon 2013.
• Under the IceCap concert #3 at the PowerHouse Museum Sydney August 2012.
• Dots on the Rox concert #2 at the Conservatorium Recital Hall, Hobart, August 2012
• Commission of Ars Memoriae Mexicana by Frequency Oz for ORF Kunstradio June July 2012
• Vox on the Rox ANAT Synapse AIR with the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, concert #1 at the Conservatorium Recital Hall, Hobart April 2012
• VoxAura CD publication for Turku European Capital of Culture 2011
• The GhosTrain project, Hindsight ABC Radio National, May 3rd – 31st 2009
• New Music up Late, ABC Classic Fm , Artist’s profile April 2009
• Fat Zero short digital animation for Channel 4/Film 4 (UK screened Channel 4 TV, Rotterdam Film festival, Watershed, Bristol, GMI screen in Leicester Square, London 2001
• Regular contributions to the French based Collective Radio and Audio Jukebox
• En 0 Red 2000 festival of electronic songs, Spain 2000
• A Transit of Venus (co-produced with Simo Alitalo) for ABC Radio1999
• A Transit of Venus (co-produced with Simo Alitalo) for YLE Radio Helsinki 1999
• Ship to Shore a series of 12 broadcasts for the BBC Liverpool, UK 1998
• Metamorphoses for ABC Radio 1997
• A Silent Forest (with Tony Macgregor) for ABC FM and KPFA Berkley CA 1996
• La Campana (with Tony Macgregor) for ABC Radio and the Biennale of Sydney 1993
• La Zona (with Tony Macgregor) for ABC Radio and the Biennale of Sydney 1993
• An UnRequited Space Public Sculpture/ABC Broadcast, for Working in Public 1992
• Semi-Automatic Writing an Opera for Human and Machine Voices, for ABC Radio 1991
• You can’t speak English to Buddha for ABC Radio 1990
• Bell Transfer for ABC Radio 1989



• Adjunct Professor, Dept Culture and Media, MacQuarie University 2014 ~ current
• Honorary Research Fellow Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies UTas ~ current
• Honorary Research Fellow, SymbioticA, UWA, Perth WA 2011~ current
• Visiting Professorial Fellow, National Institute for Experimental Arts, CofA, UNSW, 2011~current
• Hon Associate in Architectural Acoustics, USYD, Sydney, NSW 1999~2009
• Visiting Artist/Professor at La Esmeralda at CENART Mexico DF 2010
• Visiting Artist/Professor, National University of Singapore 2008
• Visiting Professorial Fellow, Computer Science Engineering, UNSW, Sydney, NSW 2006~09
• Visiting Research Fellow Stanford University, USA 2003
• Visiting Artist/Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA 2002
• Visiting Artist /Professor, to the University of Lapland, Finland 1997 and 2000
• Visiting Fellow to The University of Western Sydney 1997
• Inaugural Visiting Fellow to CAIIA, University of Wales, 1996
• Inaugural Visiting Fellow in Fine Arts to Auckland University, NZ 1994
• Visiting Artist /Professor, Chiang Mai University, Thailand 1991/2 and 1993/4
• Visiting Artist /Professor, San Jose State University USA 1988
• Head of Sculpture Performance and Installation, Sydney College of the Arts USYD 1985~1990
• Visiting Artist /Professor, WAIT (now Curtin University) Perth, WA 1983~1984

Fellowships and Artist Residencies:

• University of the Free State, Bloemfontien, Dept Microbiology residency July ~ September 2014.
• Siva)(Zona Artspace residency, Korcula, Croatia June ~ July 2014.
• Helsinki City Artist in Residence May ~ June 2014.
• Synapse Art+Science AIR with the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies UTAS 2011/12
• Artist’s Fellowship, IASKA for the SpaceD Biennale 2011/12
• Artist in Residence, Kokar Island Finland 2011
• Artist in Residence, Macquarie University, Sydney 2009/10
• Radiophonic Fellow, ABC National Radio, Sydney 2008/9
• Artist in Residence, The Exploratorium Museum, San Francisco, 2006
• Artist in Residence, IASKA, Kellerberrin WA, 2005
• Artist in Residence, The Exploratorium Museum, San Francisco, 2005
• Artist in Residence, Paul Scherrer Institut, Switzerland in the Artists in Labs, Zurich, 2004/5
• Australia Council + ARC Industry Linkage award AudioNomad (University of NSW) 2003
• VACB Australia Council fellowship for 2002/2003
• Artist in Residence, SymbioticA, UWA, WA 2002 and 2003
• Winner, of the Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award, AUS 2002
• Pollock Krasner Foundation Award, US 2002
• Artist in Residence, Lake Technology, Sydney, NSW 1999/2001
• New Media Arts Board Industry Partnership Sonic LandScapes (with Lake Technology) 1999
• NSW Ministry for the Arts (Arts, Design & Industry award) for Create CD Rom, 1996
• NSW Ministry for the Arts (Arts, Design & Industry award) for Hybrid CD Rom, 1994
• Visiting Artist to the Hanoi Institute of Fine Arts, Korea 1994
• VACB Australia Council fellowship in 1992
• Artist in Residence, Cite Des Arts, Paris, France 1990
• Artist in Residence, Kohler Industries, USA 1990
• Artist in Residence, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Perth WA 1989
• The Exploratorium Museum, San Francisco, USA 1988
• Artist in Residence, Daewoo Heavy Industries, Korea 1988
• Australia Council – Green St Studio, New York, USA 1988
• Artist In Residence, Mt Lawley College (now Edith Cowan University) Perth, WA 1983


• Nigel has served as a member of the board of:
• Curator of Soundart for ISEA 2013 Sydney.
• Chair of the international advisory board of SymbioticA UWA 2009-current
• Arts New South Wales Ministry (Visual Arts), 2005 to 2008
• Curatorium for Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth 2002 ~ 2004
• The New Media Arts Board of the Australia Council, 2000 to 2003
• Artspace, Sydney, 1994 to 1996
• The Performance Space, Sydney, 1986 to 1994
• Co-founder of SoundCulture International 1989
• International advisor to the Exploratorium Museum San Francisco 1988 ~


•Heavy Metal Helyer, Potts and Taylor, Lenorado Music Journal Vol 28 ISSN 0961-1215 pub 2018
•Walking Thinking and Memory, Helyer and Potts, Interartive Journal 2018
•Sound of Place, Helyer and Potts International Soundscape Journal Vol. 17, 2018
•The Deluge Ark(ive) a novella, SonicObjects ISBN 978-0-9872463-2-5 pub 2017.
•AlphaBravoCharlie digital-
•Crayvox digital
•Float like a Butterfly; Sting like a Bee. pg 65 ~ 71. Antenna the Journal of Nature in Visual Culture Issue 31, March 2015. Multi species becomings in the Anthropocene Editor Dr. Giovanni Aloi
•An Atlas of Small Voyages, essay in Issue1:LAND. ISSN 2315-4803 LaSalle College of Arts
Singapore 2013.
•Under the IceCap and Echo and Narcissus presented and published at the Global Composition Conference, Darmstadt Germany 2012.
•CrayVox, by Helyer N, Published Taiwan, Sonic Objects; Sonic ArchitectureISBN 978-0-9872463-0-1, 2012.
•The Nomadic Ear (chapter in) Sonography, Cartography and the design of Sonic Narratives for Nonlinear Experience.Site of Sound: Of Architecture and the Ear Vol. 2 Edited by Brandon LaBelle & Claudia Martinho Errant Bodies Press, Berlin ISBN: 978-0-9827439-0-4 2011.
•Prometheus Bound (chapter in)•Innovation in Australian Arts, Media and Design: Fresh Challenges for the Tertiary Sector by Rod Wissler, Brad Haseman, Sue-Anne Wallace, Michael Keane Post Pressed Published: 2004 ISBN:978-1-876682-65-1.
•Snap, Crackle Pop International Soundscape Journal Vol.9 No.1
•Artful Media, The Sonic Nomadic, Exploring mobile surround sound, Nigel Helyer, Daniel Woo, Francesca Veronesi, IEEE Vol.16, Issue 2. 2009, ISSN:1070-986X, Electronic ISSN:1941-0166


Art’s Ghostly Touch
Putting Sound Into Site
Mexico is Different
Ars Electronica Vitae Brevis
Gran Turismo
Sound Arts and the Living Dead
Virtual Voices; Ghost Riders in the Sky


Helyer’s progress, fusing art and science (John Potts)
Gone to Earth, ArtLink (Joanna Mendelssohn)
Silent Forest (Doug Kahn)


Royal Yachting Association – Dinghy Sailing Instructor.
Royal Yachting Association – Yachtmaster.

CV-ENDS ~ WriteDate 9th April 2019.