Dr Pia van Gelder

Research Fellow
School of Art & Design

Pia van Gelder is an electronic artist, researcher and historian. Her art practice and scholarship investigates transdisciplinarity and historical and contemporary conceptions of energy and how these shape our relationship with technology, bodies and our environment. Her recent scholarship has concentrated on the influence of esotericism on electronic instruments of the 20th century. Van Gelder is a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the Australian National University working across the School of Art & Design and the Centre for Art History and Art Theory where she is working on a critical digital edition of Jean Benjamin de Laborde's "Choix de Chansons," that examines its transdisciplinary nature.

Van Gelder's work has been shown at the Black Mountain College Museum (NC, USA), Kyoto Art Centre, SuperDeluxe Tokyo, ISEA, Langgeng Art Foundation and iCan in Yogyakarta. Her work has been commissioned by Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art, Performance Space and Carriageworks. Her practice often involves designing and building electronic instruments that are presented in performance and interactive installation contexts. Van Gelder performs live at events and festivals including Liquid Architecture with a number of different sound and audio-visual projects. She curates and facilitates events and artist run initiatives including Dorkbot Sydney, which she founded in 2006, Moduluxxx, a festival of modular synthesis and Serial Space, an experimental art space that she codirected from 2010 to 2013. Often traversing the spaces of transdisciplinary and speculative art, her work has been discussed in recent critical texts including Prudence Gibson's The Plant Contract, Art's Return to Vegetal Life (Brill, 2018), Peter Weibel's Sound Art, Sound as a Medium of Art (MIT, 2019).

Her writing has been recently published in the Journal of Sonic Studies (16, Materials of Sound). With Caleb Kelly, she has co-authored a chapter of the forthcoming 3rd edition of Nicolas Collins, Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking (Routledge) and coedited a forthcoming collection Feminist, Queer, Anticolonial Propositions for Hacking the Anthropocene: Archive (Open Humanities Press), with Jennifer Mae Hamilton, Sue Reid, and Astrida Neimanis.

Research interests

art history, design history, media art history, music history, musicology, transdisciplinary art, speculative design, digital humanities, esotericism, energies, history of technology, history of medicine, history of science, anthropocene studies, theosophy, anthroposophy, divination, religion and technology, alternative therapies, subtle bodies, environmental humanities, feminism, gender studies, queer & anti-colonial methodologies, practice led research, hacking, intentional communities, artist communities

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