Lisa Roberts blog


Dancing paths and floors

Filed under: Iconography — Lisa @ 12:05

I love the idea of spontaneous gestures set as lasting forms to animate living spaces. My brother Tom inspires me to work directly into terracotta to make tiles for pathways and floors. Tiles could be ‘green’ (soft, unfired) and engraved as well as painted. I can work by eye and memory from drawings.

Barara Cuckson writes:

I’m trying to analyse why I see your ‘dance movement scripts’ in a ceramics medium.
Do you think:
It’s the mind’s memory of images of ancient dancers, and their documentation recorded in hieroglyphics on walls like ghosts for eternity? A message  from antiquity that is still the same now, the soul being timeless.
Paper and ink is a transitory medium, and although the movement itself is transitory, the movement is also timeless. Ceramics seems to me to represent the definition of the person within its environment, like a fossil in stone, a moment in time.
You capture the essence of the breath in a dance movement, that is, where it has come from, and where it is going, that is amazing. But you also capture a personal description of the dancer, along with those movements that you pare down to essential elements only. It is an extraordinary gift…

Ancient gestures

Filed under: Iconography — Lisa @ 11:44
2007 Girl with Hoop

2007 Girl with Hoop

Choreographer Barbara Cuckson inspires a vision to set spontaneous calligraphic forms as a solid part of the world we move through. Ideally the forms would be comprehensible by anyone.

When I was at High School I was enthralled by a teacher reading the ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ by John Keats. She explained that Keats was very sick when he wrote that poem and was taking opium for his pain. I can still see the dancers I imagined then, moving around the ancient urn.

Now on my way home from UTS today I was thinking, as I was walking, about your tiles idea and took photos of all the painted skipping girls on the corrugated iron around Carriage Works. I want to animate them. Then I kept photographing the fence sections with no paintings on them and imagined Rozelle dancers appearing in those spaces.

Now as I write I think of the ‘circumlitoral drawing’ Terra Spiritus by my old art teacher Bea Maddock:

Some people say that the art galleries of today evolved from wide corridors in grand houses of Europe that were made for walking through. For example the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles has glass windows on one side and mirrors on the other, paintings on the ceiling and parquetry patterns on the floor, offering so many things to look at as you walk (nature, art and your own human form).

My grandmother’s house had a space which we called ‘the Gallery’. It was a wide hall with windows on one side overlooking a garden and the wall opposite was covered in paintings (mostly by Tom Roberts and his mates). Here and there were pedestals with sculptures and exotic objects, including a Russian samovar and some carved wood from China.

Unsustainable expansion

Filed under: circle — Lisa @ 11:27

A hot air balloon in the White Rabbit Gallery signifies expanding human consumption.

A hot air balloon in the White Rabbit Gallery signifies expanding human consumption.

The White Rabbit Gallery hosts an alarming exhibit.


Bioengineering our brains

Filed under: Human rights, Iconography, Presentations, Science — Lisa @ 14:17

Ted Talk: American Journal of Bioethics, Neuroscience Editor, Paul Root Wolpe, says it’s time to question the bioengineering of animals, our brains and more.

I found this presentation frustratingly manipulating, but am pleased that I saw it. It brought my attention to the reality of genetic engineering. As I watched I found myself asking how genetic engineering works, but my desire for this knowledge battled with my own Nnormalcy Bias*, triggered by the continuous stream of cute animals. I wanted a more objective, balanced point of view. I wanted to see positive examples (if there are any) of positive of genetic engineering.

In order to make ethical decisions about how to regulate our behaviour, ways need to be found to communicate accurate information that do not trigger the Normalcy Bias. We face the same challenge when communicating climate change information. Because we each participate in shaping ourselves and our environment, it makes sense that we work together to decide what is good and what is bad.

*Wikipedia explains that:
The normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of the government to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred that it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.[1]



Filed under: Iconography, dance, drawing — Lisa @ 10:09

New drawings are inspired by Barbara Cuckson, director of the Rozelle School of Visual Arts in Sydney. Barbara’s training was with the legendary Gertrud Bodenwiesser, who was in turn a student of Rudolf Laban.

In Barbara’s classes I learn to dance with primal forms that were used to develop The New Dance.


Fluid Sculpture

Filed under: animation, circle — Lisa @ 10:26

Fluid Sculpture from Charlie Bucket on Vimeo.

Fluid Sculpture is a winner of the Vimeo Capture Award.


Crinoid – feather star

Filed under: Iconography, Science, animation, dance — Lisa @ 13:27

At last I try the ‘bones’ tool in Flash CS4 and am animating a crinoid like the one filmed by Torvaansar (Uploaded to U-tube 28 sec – 22 Mar 2008):

What are crinoids?

Crinoids, also known as sea lilies or feather-stars, are marine animals that make up the class Crinoidea of the echinoderms (phylum Echinodermata). Crinoidea comes from the Greek word krinon, “a lily”, and eidos, “form”. [1] They live both in shallow water and in depths as great as 6,000 meters.[citation needed]

Crinoids are characterized by a mouth on the top surface that is surrounded by feeding arms. They have a U-shaped gut, and their anus is located next to the mouth. Although the basic echinoderm pattern of fivefold symmetry can be recognized, most crinoids have many more than five arms. Crinoids usually have a stem used to attach themselves to a substrate, but many live attached only as juveniles and become free-swimming as adults.

There are only a few hundred known modern forms, but crinoids were much more numerous both in species and numbers in the past. Some thick limestone beds dating to the mid- to late-Paleozoic are almost entirely made up of disarticulated crinoid fragments. (Wikipedia)

I find an excellent U-tube tutorial by LilredheadComics on how to use the bones tool.


Martin Kemp

Filed under: Conferences, Iconography, Science, writing — Lisa @ 10:10

Through the Yasmin on-line forum, 11 November 2010, Vítor Reia-Baptista posts,

Just to let you know that Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon will held a cicle of Conferences under the general theme «Image in Science and Art», starting with a conference by Martin Kemp (full program down in this message).

Martin Kemp has written and broadcast extensively on imagery in art and science from the Renaissance to the present day. Leonardo da Vinci has been at the centre of this endeavour, and has been the subject of a number of his books and exhibitions, including Leonardo (Oxford University Press, 2004). His wider research has involved the sciences of optics, anatomy and natural history in various key episodes in the history of naturalism. In 1989 he published The Science of Art. Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat (Yale University Press). Increasingly, he has focused on issues of visualization, modeling and representation. The broad thrust of more recent work is devoted to a “New History of the Visual,” which embraces the wide range of artefacts from science, technology, and the fine, applied and popular arts that have been devised to create models of nature and to articulate human relationships with the physical world. A scientific diagram or computer graphic model of a molecule is as relevant to this new history as a painting by Michelangelo. He writes a regular column on ‘Science in Culture’ in the science journal
Nature, an early selection of which has been published as Visualisations (OUP, 2000). Many of the themes of the Nature essays are developed in Seen and Unseen (OUP 2006), in which his concept of
’structural intuitions’ is explored. Forthcoming books include The Human Animal (Chicago).

Ciclo de Conferências Image in Science and Art



17 Novembro 2010 | 18.00

?Taking it on Trust? in Images of Nature

Martin Kemp


15 Dezembro 2010 | 18.00

The Problem of a Picture of an Atom

Christopher Toumey

19 Janeiro 2011| 18.00

Visiting Time: The Renegotiation of Time through Time-Based Art

Boris Groys

2 Fevereiro 2011 | 18.00

Functional Images of the Brain: Beauty, Bounty, and Beyond

Judy Illes



Av. de Berna, 45 A ? 1067-001 LISBOA

T. 21 782 35 25 | E. |


Videodifusão |


Tai Chi tree

Filed under: Iconography — Lisa @ 12:52

A tree near my home provides shade from the sun as it rises in the mornings from the east.
This is perfect ground for Tai Chi that may attract more people than me.

I agree with Tim Flannery who writes,

I believe in the sacredness, if you like, of other people. I’m not arrogant enough to be an atheist because we know so little about the world … As we come to know ourselves and our planet, we will be moved to act [on climate change].

Sunday October 24, 2010 The Sun-Herald,p.6


Blob motility

Filed under: Iconography, Literature, Science — Lisa @ 07:48

Blob motility

My friend Natalie Shell, of Think, Talk, Walk, sends this link to Blob motility:

Blob Motility is an early phase of a new “actuated shape display using programmable matter.” With it, A gel substance can be programmed to a specific geometry and topology, resulting in organic shape-changing in real space—not unlike a “metaball” in computer graphics, as the lab points out.

The hardware is composed of electromagnets arranged in a honeycomb structure underneath, with control circuits that create a dynamic magnetic field. The blob, a magnetic fluid known as “pBlob,” responds to this field, changing shape in response.

For a demo of the magnetic non-organism that will one day float you to work, see the video above. They explain a little bit there as well, but to get the full story, including the method of blob creation, mechanism details, the language of transformation control, and proposed application, you’ll have to wait until the International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction in 2011, where the design team will present their work.

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