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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10002/704

Title: Jozef Stanislaus Ostoja-Kotkowski, an Australian artist between Art, Industry, Science and the Academy.
Authors: Jolly, Martyn
Oates, Anthony
Issue Date: 27-Jun-2016
Series/Report no.: Practices: Histories of the Studio Lab;06.11.2015 Session 2B
Abstract: Jozef Stanislaus Ostoja­Kotkowski (1922­1994) is a major figure of Australian artistic innovation whose full significance has only recently begun to be properly recognised and contextualised within a critical, art historical framework. From the early 1960s Ostoja­Kotkowski’s art engaged with technology as a conduit for artistic expression, utilising the new media of the time that promised a greater immediacy and directness. Ostoja­Kotkowski’s work sat at a point of intersection between art, the sciences, engineering, and the humanities, and while this made him something of an ‘outsider’ within mainstream Australian art, his creative research became increasingly concerned with an inter­disciplinary approach leading to collaborations with industry engineers and technicians, government weapons research scientists, and university academics, who were all at the forefront of advancements in technology such as electronics, cathode ray tubes and lasers. This joint paper by Dr Stephen Jones, Dr Martyn Jolly, and Anthony Oates examines Ostoja­Kotkowski’s research led practice, and the way that it was shaped by his connections to academia and the scientific research establishment. The paper particularly focuses on the artist’s time as a Creative Arts Fellow at the Australian National University’s Research School of Physical and Earth Sciences in 1971­72 and his key involvement in the Australia75 Arts and Science Festival in Canberra. The re­appraisal of these important events began with Jones’ 2011 book Synthetics ­ Aspects of Art and Technology in Australia, 1956­1975. It 5 continued in 2013 with Theremin75, a joint project between Jones and the ANU Colleges of Arts and Social Sciences and Engineering and Computer Science. The project restored to functionality a theremin Ostoja­Kotkowski had built for Australia75, and re­performed the work of new music, Legions of Asmodeous by the leading new music composer Larry Sitsky, which had been originally commissioned for the theremin 1975. In 2014 the exhibition Colour Music, curated by Anthony Oates for the ANU Drill Hall Gallery, went on to contextualise Ostoja­Kotkowski within a broader historical and aesthetic framework and reveal his influence on the practice of a new generation of contemporary artists, musicians and performers who are interested in synaesthesia and transdisciplinary practice.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10002/704
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