Striking a Balance

Striking a Balance

Sandra Conte

28th May 2013

eARTh dedicates this issue to the Balance Unbalance International Conference and salutes the team of organisers and expert minds to converge on Australian shores.

At a time when there are a number of like-minded conferences happening ‘down under’, Balance Unbalance International Conference, 2013, sets the ball rolling in the pristine Noosa Biosphere.

Like the parallel Floating Land Festival, forums are created and found. Importantly, such convergences bring to the table a demonstration of tasks and strategies for creatively tackling positive global change.

Keynote speakers of Balance Unbalance will lead the talk about creative focused solutions around the theme of “Future Nature, Future Culture[s]” while eARTh emag is also looking for generation x-z’s responses.

The Balance Unbalance 2013 Program features 120 presenters, three keynote panels, 12 Pecha Kucha presentations, 60 papers, 25 performances/installations and 30 panels/trans-disciplinary activities.

Keynote speakers >>

Fee Plumley (Australia) is an artist, creative producer, consultant, speaker, blogger and self confessed techno-evangelist with a Masters in Interactive Multimedia Production and (trans)media arts practice as a creative producer, combining technology, performance and literature. Co-founder of UK based company the-phone-book Limited (2000-2008), Fee was best known for encouraging people to be creative with their mobile phones. Now on a ‘reallybigroadtrip’, around Australia in her ‘bus’ blogging, tweeting and teaching, Fee awaits the arrival of the National Broadband Network and the chance to endorse its wealth of creative opportunity across Australia.

Nina Czegledy Award winning media artist, curator and educator Nina works internationally on collaborative art and science/technology projects, as well as in education. She has led, workshops, forums and festivals around the world, is published widely in books and journals and has presented at several international conferences and academic institutions. Nina’s keynote will explore the role of community in transdiciplinary action and provide a series of case studies (including SCANZ in New Zealand).

Ramon Guardans (Spain) - Artist and scientist Ramon Guardans traces pollutants and their effect on local and global populations, health and environments and examines the relevance of different ways of life in understanding exposure. He has been involved for 20 years in international action on atmospheric and marine pollution including the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP). Ramon’s keynote will provoke new ways of understanding Atmospheric and Marine Pollution through art and trans-disciplinary thinking.

Michel Tuffery (New Zealand) An artist of Samoan, Rarotongan and Tahitian heritage, Michel Tuffery on paper and by reputation is one of the seminal role players for visibility of Contemporary Pacific Island art locally and beyond the wider Pacific. His creative output is expansive as he is adept at all arts media, printing, painting and sculpting, and works collaboratively with technicians and other art practitioners to realise his performance and installation projects, requiring moving image, light and sound. His concerns are measured and politicised around the conservation of the environment and shaped by his Pacific Island ancestry.

Tony Fry (Australia) is Professor of Design Futures at Griffith University, Queensland College of Art, Brisbane, Australia. He is also an award-winning designer, a theorist,
a farmer, and director of a project developing an academy of Indigenous-based creative practices in East Timor. The author of nine books, Tony is regarded as one of the most progressive thinkers on design in the world today. Of his acclaimed book, Design as Politics, a reviewer commented: “To say it’s ‘timely’ is an understatement. Fry offers us one of the most prescient theses for the design of a different possible future.” Tony Fry’s keynote will focus around the concept of the ‘Future of the Human’, future settlement and exploring exactly what will need to change and how we ‘create’ it.

Andrea Polli (USA) is a digital media artist living in New Mexico. She is currently working in collaboration with atmospheric scientists to develop systems for understanding storm and climate through sound (called sonification). A member of the steering committee for New York 2050, a wide-reaching project envisioning the future of the New York City region, Andrea worked with city planners, environmental scientists, historians and other experts to look at the impact of climate on the future of human life both locally and globally. Andrea will present her practice and key projects including ‘Particle Falls’. This project creates visual waterfalls drawing on real-time data about the atmosphere. Go to

For more information on keynote speakers go to

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With forums and speakers debating the best way forward, eARTh’s young adult social media reporter, Zandalee will be live-tweeting and inviting discussion on two of the panel sessions with eARTh’s questions matched to the official panel sessions:

eARTh Q Are we all fried and how do we tough it out?

Tony Fry (Australia) and Michael Tuffery (New Zealand) will be presenting answers along with Fee Plumley (Australia) around the first panel Chaired by Leah Barclay entitled, What is the future for humans, how will we live?

eARTh Q How do we guard our future and avoid tragedy if we’re all poles apart in our thinking?

Ramón Guardans (Spain), Nina Czegledy (Canada) will present alongside Andrea Polli (USA), Chaired by Ricardo Dal Farra in Panel 2 as to What is the role of trans-disciplinary thinking and art/science collaborations in moving thinking about humanity forward?

(Detail from Environmental Reeds, Floating Land, 2011, Photograph Raoul Slater.)

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