Art and Science collide at CoLABS 2017

CoLabs 2017 Edison Chen BearOmeter of PositivityAn exciting new affordable outdoor event fusing art and science in extraordinary ways, CoLABS will take place at Bungarribee Park in Western Sydney Parklands in the first week of the October during the New South Wales school holidays.

Entertaining and innovative art installations, created by artists and science professionals, will delight young children, teenagers and adults alike. Western Sydney Parklands’ newly developed Bungarribee Park will be transformed into the west’s biggest outdoor art gallery powered by Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

STEM has been identified as a national priority to build the skills and capacity for the jobs of the future, and is experiencing rapid growth in Western Sydney, especially with the new Sydney Science Park due to open at Luddenham. By asking artists to create work with a scientific or technological twist, CoLABS picks up on this focus.

CoLABS directors Grant Dowling and Pip Sprott worked together on the Outpost Project in 2011 on Cockatoo Island, at the time the southern hemisphere’s largest street art festival.

“CoLABS was conceived to show how art and science can work together to engage and inspire the next generation to the possibilities and opportunities in STEM,” said Dowling and Sprott. “We hope to unlock the creative capacity and imagination of western Sydney through an event that’s fun and engaging.”

Featured artworks at CoLABS 2017 include:

Bear-Ometer of Positivity – Edison Chen
Control a 4 metre high inflatable bear with your smart phone Twitter account. Combines pop-art sensibility with technology and reflects the control we have on emotions through social media use. The more positive messages Bear-Ometer detects, the larger it will inflate.

Botanicus Musica – Jonathan Bolitho
Step into an interactive sound garden that comes to life by touching plants. Set in a 6 metre tall geodesic dome, Botanicus Musica combines interactive art with botany, biology, horticulture and anthropology. Advanced touch sensing technology allows you to trigger a plant to produce sounds of waves lapping at the shore, or a voice snippet regarding its cultural significance.

Curious Chromoscope – Didier Balez, Rachelle Balez
Journey into the hidden world of your chromosomes via a giant kaleidoscope with this interactive sculptural installation. Created by a father and daughter team, Curious Chromoscope consists of 23 steel plate chromosomes up to 2.5 meters, and a life size microscope-shaped kaleidoscope. Moving in a 360° motion, you’ll explore the central role chromosomes play in our existence.

Immuno-SightDidier Balez, Rachelle Balez
Neurons are the vehicles that drive human connections. As the neurons in our brains continuously communicate with one another, they shape the individual in response to their environment, experiences and beliefs. Immuno-Sight is a three dimensional representation of immunocytochemical images generated from human neurons grown in the laboratory for medical research.

Project Bread – Clayton Thompson
Explore an enormous pyramid constructed from 1700 bread crates. Project Bread is an 8 metre pyramid, representing the global wealth pyramid (1% of the world’s population owns 50% of the wealth). The structure is essentially a series of mathematical equations.

RAPP LAB Robots, Art, People and Performance – Damith Herath, Dr. Elizabeth Jochum, Marian Abboud, Vicki Van Hout
A collaboration between the co-founder of Robological Sydney, the University of Alborg, Marian Aboud and Vicki Van Hout. Beat the robot at its game! Play noughts and crosses with an advanced life-size manufacturing robot. Ushering in the promise of the future, this mix-media installation also acknowledges the past and present through a robot that plays tic-tac-toe with humans, framed by a digital backdrop that is both immersive and challenging.

RhythmotronMARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour & Development at Western Sydney University
Play an algorithmic robotic percussion ensemble via a re-purposed piano (no musical knowledge required!). Software housed inside the piano produces a variety of rhythmic sonics. Rhythmotron will also feature two live events with the new Western Sydney Youth Orchestra performing specially developed pieces in tandem.

Umbilical Arrangements – Mehwish Iqbal
Western Sydney artist Mehwish Iqbal celebrates the area’s cultural diversity in her large sculptural work, sponsored by WestConnex. Resembling the cellular structure found in nature, the work will be created in metal frame with brass skin.

CoLabs takes place at Bungarribee Park, Western Sydney Parklands: 29 September – 8 October 2017. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Artist Impression of Edison Chen’s Bear-Ometer of Positivity – courtesy of CoLabs