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Digital lab, new works in development

Ross Gibson and Kate Richards Life After WarTime


Sydney-based media artists Ross Gibson and Kate Richards began collaborating in 1997 on the suite of works, Life After WarTime (LAW). Based on Gibson’s extensive research into the crime scene photographic archive held at the Justice and Police Museum in Sydney (managed by the Historic Houses Trust of NSW), the first work in the suite was Crime Scene. This photographic print exhibition, with Chris Abrahams’ sound design computationally composed by Greg White, an additional database of images with Gibson’s research notes, plus an interactive oral history database of interviews with forensic detectives, ran for 12 months to popular and critical acclaim at the Justice and Police Museum. It is now touring regional NSW.

The parent project of LAW is a CD-ROM. Due for release in early 2003, LAW CD-ROM is a story engine with which users can construct an infinite array of narratives circulating around various characters and locations in a portside city immediately after World War 2. A small section of this work has had limited exposure in the form of an algorithmic story engine called Darkness Loiters.

Gibson and Richards have devised a live version of LAW in which they improvise storytelling using images and texts from the CD-ROM. Performed in a synaesthetic relationship with jazz minimalists The Necks, LAW Live with the Necks was performed at the 2002 Adelaide Fringe Festival. It premieres in Sydney at The Studio, Sydney Opera House on February 8 and 9, 2003. Gibson and Richards are also developing an immersive installation, The Bystander Field, based on the same material.

The suite of works was conceived as a series of interrogative responses to the data-based archive of crime images and Gibsons’ texts.

RealTime issue #52 Dec-Jan 2002 pg. 19

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