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“The political context has deep implications for the health of a democracy of which the agency of the artist is a key indicator. Artists are the canaries in the coalmine of democracy – if there is not enough oxygen they die. Strange Attractor, and platforms like it, ensure artists have the opportunity to breathe. This trajectory from artistic practice to democracy means that to be an artist in the 21st C, we need to be active citizens. Strange Attractor helps us become better at both.”

David Pledger, The Facilitator 2016

28-31 /   8   /   2019

28-31 /   8   /   2019

STRANGE ATTRACTOR LAB is a platform and lab for artists to deepen artistic methodologies and strengthen critical discourse in experimental and emerging practices. It operates as an interface between the artists as collaborative peers and their audiences/publics to develop new languages for artistic practice and insight to artistic research.

SA offer artists the opportunity to assert leadership potential whilst exploring new possibilities for creative exchange. SA want to strengthen the muscle of artist led practice with artists in how and why we make work in a trans-disciplinary manner. We want to carve out space for an artist led interdisciplinary enquiry into where the arts are now and where we can take it into the future.

Image credit: Matthew Syres


Powerhouse Museum MAAS, Sydney

20-28  /   1   /   2019

Facilitator: Bek Conroy 

Artists with Collaborators: Henrietta Baird & Vicky Van Hout, Clarence Slockee, Bruce Pascoe, Jody Orcher and Auntie Francis Bodkin, Ivey Wawn &Riki Scanlan, Jodie McNeilly-Renaudie & Clare Cooper, Dean Walsh & Dr Glenn Albrecht and Sarah Pini & Jestin George. 

Guests: Dr. Astrida Neimanis (Dept Gender and Cultural Studies) and Ken McLeod (Research Associate UTS Business School)

Residency: Powerhouse Museum, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences

Partners: Sydney Festival and Critical Path

Supported by: City of Sydney, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW and Woollahra Council.

20-27  /   1   /   2019

Facilitator: Bek Conroy

Producer: Strange Attractor 

Partner: Powerhouse Museum/Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) and Critical Path Choreographic Centre

Co-presented with Sydney Festival

Strange Attractor and Critical Path in partnership with Powerhouse Museum (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences) present CHOREOGRAPHIC HACK LAB, a one-week laboratory that brings together city-based practitioners to look at and be informed by new synthesis between disciplines.


We invite 5 artists with a choreographic practice to creatively improvise with 5 practitioners from other disciplines engaging with the Anthropocene. This experimental space provides the opportunity for finding creative solutions and new ways of working across practice boundaries. Alongside the lab there will be a series of public activities – talks, presentations and an accessible publication to open up the process and content of the laboratory to the public and extend the reach of the public program activities.

Facilitated by Bek Conroy with participants Ivey Wawn & Riki Scanlan, Dean Walsh & Dr Glenn Albrecht, Jodie McNeilly-Renaudie & Clare Cooper, Henrietta Baird & Vicki Van Hout, Clarence Slockee, Bruce Pascoe,  Jody Orcher and Auntie Francis Bodkin, Sarah Pini & Jestin George.

PUBLIC TALK: 'Hacking the Anthropocene' with Dr Astrida Neimanis (Dept Gender and Cultural Studies, Uni Syd) and Kenneth McLeod (Research associate, UTS Business School) held at Powerhouse Museum 3pm on 20th Jan.

PUBLIC SHARING: of ideas and explorations from the lab participants will be held at 3pm 28 January 2019 at MAAS (Powerhouse Museum) .


PUBLIC EVENT: 'Making Space I: Bodies, Space and the Anthropocene' 107 Redfern St, Redfern Wednesday 6 March 

PUBLICATION: of the lab can be found in Critical Path's quarterly e-journal Critical Dialogues Issue nr 11 - Choreographic Hack Lab.


Ainslie+Gorman Arts Centres, Canberra

11-23  /   6   /   2016

Facilitator: David Pledger

Artists : Loren Kronemyer, William McBride, Shona Erskine, Alice Dixon, Matthew Shilcock, Alison Plevey, Daisy Sanders and Liz Lea

Guests: Brian Walker, Scientist CSIRO and Dr Susan Boden, Academic ANU 

Writer in Residence: Zsuzsi Soboslay for REELTIME

Supporting Partners: Ainslie+Gorman Arts Centres, Canberra Contemporary Art Space and QL2 Dance 

Funded by: ArtsACT Australia Council for the Arts

Called ’MAKE-THINK-SPEAK’, the curatorial intention of David Pledger (NYID) was to apply a dramaturgical trajectory across artistic, social and political contexts and to support the participants in understanding the complicity of the artist in each of these contexts. This understanding enables the artist to take control of their participation in each context and positively influence outcomes. 

The question that resonated most deeply throughout the platform was: ”what would it look like if artists themselves designed and drove the platforms, frames and structures that supported their needs?”

​The two-week lab opened up collaborations with Canberra's resident intellectuals from CSIRO and Australian National University to present their work and stimulate the artists to consider their practice in new ways and in broader contexts. CSIRO scientist Brian Walker and landscape architect Dr Susan Boden (ANU) spoke of resilience & stability and narrative film and architecture. 

GUEST SPEAKERS: Brian Walker - a scientist of ecology and resilience in social ecological systems. He was Chief of Australia’s CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology for 15 years and is now a Fellow in their Land and Water Flagship.

Dr Susan Boden - a modernist trained, positivist landscape architect who is also trained and works in the chaos of a medical general practice. Her PhD was in landscape and narrative film.


PUBLICATION: This years Writer in Residence Zsuzsi Soboslay spends time with the artists in process and reflects on the lab and public sharing in 'Art, empathy and risk' published in RealTime Magazine as well as Strange Attractor at Gorman Arts Centre looks at role of choreography in art world in the Canberra Times.

PUBLIC EVENT: Launch David Pledger is Running for Office - Minister for Empathy'

In the context of the 2016 Federal Election, artist David Pledger(dp) will launch a durational artwork in the form of a campaign, where he seeks election for various offices in multiple contexts over a number of years.

dp asks how should artists and politicians behave in a time when civil society and political culture are profoundly disconnected ? What is an artist? What is a politician? And what kind of politician might an artist be?

The Campaign Launch in Canberra sets the tone for a new style of art-making and politicking based around the idea of ‘conversation’ as an artistic mode.


Where: Gorman Arts Centre Main Hall
When: 22 June 7.30pm

Image credit: Lorna Sim and Matthew Syres


Critical Path Choreographic Centre for Research and UNSW

12  /   11   /   2017

Facilitator: Bek Conroy & Adelina Larsson Mendoza

Guests: Anthony Coxeter, Amelia McQueen, Rhiannon Newton and Claire Hicks

Strange Attractor Meta-Lab foregrounds the following questions:


1) How does the experimental create trans-disciplinary and non binary practices and spaces to build audiences and new ideas - i.e how can we lead the arts sector into bolder territory and shape its position within the broader Australian public?

2) How can we integrate the artistic research that is practice-led into the sector in a more significant and amplified way? i.e How can we draw on the strength of artists working in academia as part of their practice?

3) How can we build discursive infrastructures with our audiences - i.e how can we bring our audiences along for the ride?

Whilst previous iterations of Strange Attractor (2015 - 2017) have involved selected artists coming together in receipt of expertise, this Meta-Lab will place more focus on artists-as-peers and artists-as-leaders who come together at an earlier stage to consult on and contribute to the initial groundwork for the lab. For this we have nominated a small group of artists to come together in what we are designating a ‘Council-Counsel’. We have conceived this initial group as both pragmatic advisor and nurturing confidant. This approach is anchored in the idea that an artist-led environment will foster a more critical approach grounded in a more collegial atmosphere for exploration. Devising a more distributed leadership model through a council-counsel encourages responsibility tethered to rights and responsibilities, and places this in the service of the mission and the outcomes of the 2 weeks.


This gathering will focus on Trans-disciplinary practices and non-binary forms to help shape our articulation of how experimental practice behaves, how it moves and thinks through embodied research, and how the subject is always in a state of becoming. During this 2 week period we will be extending vocabulary and methodologies  – to build systems and structures that enhance two core missions:


1) To support the emerging and experimental artist by providing time and space for their practice to experiment, reflect, develop, research, document, share, present, refine in a collaborative and structured environment.


2) To cultivate a strong culture in critical discourse, and by extension a politicised body or network of peers who can develop leadership in the sector.

We will take residency at Critical Path Choreographic Centre for Research and at UNSW in November 2018.

Image credit: Lorna Sim 


Ainslie+Gorman Arts Centres, Canberra

10  /   06   /   2015

Facilitator: Margie Medlin

Artists: Amelia McQueen, Shoeb Ahmad, Alison Plevey, Alex Boynes, Laura Boynes, Janine Proost and Olivia Fyfe

Writer in Residence: Lucy Nelson

Supporting Partners: Ainslie+Gorman Arts Centres, Canberra Contemporary Art Space and QL2 Dance 

Funded by: ArtsACT Australian Council for the Arts

This is a cross-disciplinary workshop for artists interested in developing/exploring their projects in relationship to movement, space, light and image.

Until a certain point, new work can potentially go in many different directions, then something changes what?
This lab explores “what if”. “what if” it is not what I thought it was……. What is it?

Is it for the stage? Is it for a gallery? Is it durational? Is it a film? Should it be site specific? Is it art? Who is it for?

The week is dedicated to being confident and enjoying the process of exploration, research and making new work and finding out what it is……

Each participant will have space and facilities to work individually on your own projects. You will be able to join lighting, projection design workshops or invite Margie to works with you on these aspects of your project.
Over the week we will look at each participants project proposal through a number of lens’s. We will share process. We will look at each other’s work and learn skills in critical feedback.

PUBLICATION: Sydney Morning Herald by Lucy Nelson 2015

PUBLIC EVENT: Artist Talk with Margie Medlin

Image credit: Lorna Sim


Ainslie+Gorman Arts Centres, Canberra

7-13  /   06   /   2014

Facilitator: Natalie Cursio

Artists: Amelia McQueen, Miranda Wheen, Cadi McCarthy, Tanya Voges, Alison Plevey, Laura Boynes,  

Supporting Partners: Ainslie+Gorman Arts Centres, Canberra Contemporary Art Space and QL2 Dance 

Funded by: ArtsACT Australian Council for the Arts

"Hothouse environments such as this one are productive, challenging and crucial for artists to create discourse and expose themselves to different approaches and perspectives. Artists need to contextualise their work amongst peers and be given the opportunity to assert their own identity while allowing possibility for malleability in response to creative exchange.”


Natalie Cursio

PUBLIC EVENT: Artists Open Sharing

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