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Robert Walton

Robert Walton


Robert Ellis Walton is a multi-award-winning artist and a director whose work includes theatre, choreography, installation, writing and interactive art. He is Resident Artist in the School of Computing and Information Systems at The University of Melbourne where he leads the creation of performance artworks that explore the expressive potential of emerging technologies including, artificial intelligence, virtual holograms, swarm robotics, engineered bacterial bioluminescence, MR/XR, building information model data, and ambient computing.

About the talk: Beyond the Dystopia-in-Progress: Rehearsing an Indigenised Future ‘Australia’ Through Child of Now

The mixed-reality public artwork ‘Child of Now’ locates present day Naarm (Melbourne) as a dystopia-in-progress which can be changed through participatory performance. It invites us to rehearse our way into the future mindfully, by asking thousands of participants to collectively imagine, author and perform the 100-year life of a child born today. This process includes recording a virtual hologram of each participant performing a moment from the Child of Now’s life. We then organise all the recordings into age order, from 1-101 years, and replay them as giant AR holograms over 10 days to create a city-stopping ritual that allows us to empathise with our collective self. Our aim is to foster embodied experiences of indigenised, equitable and sustainable societies, to explore what the future might feel like. We do this by combining volumetric portraiture, mixed realities, and ancient storytelling techniques to foster radical empathy for the extraordinary futures we dare not imagine.