NIEA EXPERIMENTAL SPACE presents the artworks of current NIEA/COFA postgraduates and Pop-Up artists-in-residence Andrew Newman, Rafaela Pandolfini and Josephine Skinner who explore the themes of love, attachment and mating and experimental practices in their art making. The exhibition poses the question of experimentation and experimentality.

WHERE: Level 1, 47 George Street, The Rocks
WHEN: 30 May 2012 – 11 June 2012

Wed – Thurs & Sun 12-8pm
Fri & Sat 12-10.30pm

Mon (Queen’s Birthday) 12-8pm
WHO:  Andrew Newman, Rafaela Pandolfini and Josephine Skinner


Image courtesy of artists Andrew Newman, Rafaela Pandolfini and Josephine Skinner

Andrew Newman

Model for an electric consciousness together, 2012

Chalk on board, dimensions variable

There is a scientist named Roger Traub working for IBM in New York. He is simulating the circuits between cortical neurons in the brain. His painstaking mathematical models explore just some of the billions of oscillations that some of the billions of neurons can make. These oscillations, when visualised, are nothing but squiggles. There is some meaning in each of these individual squiggles, there are patterns that the scientific eye could possibly see, but to the untrained eye there is only abstraction.

To the artist’s eye the abstract squiggles looked like they were being generated by his lover. Squiggles he could never decipher, never really recreate. So he thought he would try his hand at being a scientist, and slice up his brain, and slice up her brain. Splice them together like two different loaves of bread and then electrocute the newly combined brain. Maybe then the squiggles would join up. Make a picture. An imagined unity in love. Although neither of them would be able to see it. They would be dead.


Andrew Newman is an artist and PhD candidate at the National Institute for Experimental Arts. His performative art practice poetically utilises methodologies from the sciences to examine value construction in contemporary culture.

Rafaela Pandolfini

Cockatoos Headdress, 2011

Video, Duration variable

Video – Rafaela Pandolfini

Sound – Anthea Caddy Pt1, Bum Creek Pt2, Dominic Kirkwood Pt3

Cockatoos Headdress accesses the tumultuous inner process of being dislocated from place and identity.  What occurs from this loss is a secret (or unconscious) communing, a deeper reading of place, people and social signifiers through essential instinct. The internal silence and yet booming expressiveness in Pandolfini’s work is testimony to loss of commonality. The colour of ritual is revived as a deeper way of being.

Part 1 marks the beautifully reflective freedom that comes with being new, foreign, and unattached. Part 2 journeys into the next phase to make a connection amongst place and people, the mutual seductions that occur as you strive to create a desire to be wanted, and as place entices you to belong. The energies of this process are amped to a new frenetic volume and common language eludes you. This is a time of fantasy and yearning. Finally, Part 3 takes us out of the internal communing into a broader space where a personal exploration continues. You are located within and therefore a contextualised sense of belonging is created. Pandolfini documents the rituals of how humans form attachment and the process that ultimately reforms and informs us from within.

Words by Alexandra Russ

Mating, 2010

Video, duration variable

Video & Sound – Rafaela Pandolfini

Mating is about the ritual of getting ready to go out on the town.

In this piece, the artist is interested in those moments in ones bedroom while getting ready. When you dance around a bit and envisage the night ahead, practising your mating call. The movements are accompanied by the sounds of a possums mating call and soft household tinkerings.


Rafaela Pandolfini is a Sydney based artist/photographer whose subject matter revolves around themes of ritual in contemporary life. Via a beautifully intricate use of performance, dance, and decoration Pandolfini vividly explores how modern notions of ritual are expressed outside of the usual guises of religion and regional ethnicity.

Usually finding her models and performers on the street Pandolfini is constantly photographing people and her surrounds. She takes photos for a wide variety of clients including The Thousands, Good God Small Club, Oyster and The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. Rafaela exhibits regularly around Sydney and Melbourne and is currently doing a Masters in Fine Art (Photomedia) at COFA.


Josephine Skinner

Bad romance synthesizer 2012

2 channel video, duration variable

Bad romance synthesiser (2012) (previous working title You) is a text-based video work that transforms excerpts from numerous love quotes found on YouTube, into a singular romantic monologue of epic dramatic proportions. The diverse quotes, which include well-known sayings, amateur poetry and YouTube users’ personal insights, take us on a journey through extreme emotions.  The work loops continually, taking us from desperately in love, though to rejection and hate, then seamlessly back to besotted again.

By selecting excerpts that refer to an ambiguous ‘you’, the disconnected declarations become a cohesive poem, as if spoken from one person to another, rather than representing the voices of many. The work considers how love and heartache can be both painfully personal yet common to all, and plays on the paradoxical nature of the YouTube ‘community’, that seems simultaneously connected and disconnected, utopian and dystopian.


Josephine Skinner is a PhD candidate in Media Arts who works in post-production with found online video from YouTube. Responding to user-created videos, her work is an exploration of the desire and inevitable failure to bridge the gap between the real and ideal through new media technologies.