Ross Rudesch Harley [aka stereopresence] is an artist, writer, and educator in the field of new media and popular culture. His work crosses the bounds of media art practice, cinema, music, design, and architecture. Ross is Professor and Head of the School of Media Arts, College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.
He first started working with video in the late 1970s, making music video for seminal Brisbane/Sydney power-pop bands The Riptides and his own bands The Myth, Phollowers, and Catchcry (with ex-Riptide Andrew Leitch and Michael Gorman; and Screaming Tribesmendrummer Murray Shepherd). His experimental work One Block from Heaven, (with Susan Charlton and Stuart Cunningham), won First Prize Narrative Drama in Australian Video Festival, 1987. During the 1980s he made a series of found-footage videos and installations that were exhibited in many festivals, galleries and exhibitions including as Australian Perspecta, Montbeliard Video Festival, and the Roslyn9 Oxley Gallery. In the 1990s his work began to focus on the intersection of technology and nature, as seen in the Digital Garden andMotion Landscapes series of works (exhibited at Ars Electronica and New York MoMA‘s Video Viewpoints series).
In 1986 he curated the seminal Know Your Product for the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. This exhibition brought together recordings, videos, artworks, posters and fanzines from the burgeoning punk and post-punk scene in Brisbane. Urszula Szulakowska Experimental Art in Queensland 1975 1995 claimed that Know Your Product was “probably the most important exhibition mounted by the IMA”.
From 1986-91 he was managing editor then editor of the controversial art theory journal Art + Text. Founded by Paul Taylor in Melbourne, the journal moved its Australian office to Sydney under the editorship of Paul Foss, whilst Paul Taylor set up a New York office in the mid 1980s. Art + Text was at the forefront of the postmodern debate, and had considerable impact upon the contemporary art scene in Australia.
In 1992 he was the director of the influential International Symposium on Electronic Art ISEA. According to Darren Tofts‘ Interzone, TISEAwas “a singular, defining event in the history of media arts in Australia”, bringing together international pioneer such as Myron Krueger,Char Davies, Ulrike Gabriel, David Blair and Luc Courschene with young Australian artists who became key figures in the development of media arts in Australia. Together with Peter Callas and Alessio Cavallaro, he produced and toured An Eccentric Orbit: Electronic Media Art in Australia. This was a large survey exhibition of Australian media art from the 1970s to 1990s commissioned by the American Federation of Arts and the Australian Film Commission 1994-96.
He has edited a number of anthologies on the electronic media art practice and theory, including New Media Technologies (1993) andArtists in Cyberculture (1993). Two special issues of the British journal Convergence Before and After Cinema (1999) Parallel Histories in the Intermedia Age (2000) brought together articles on the relationship between early cinema and contemporary media.
He is also well-known for directing the audio/vision for the Cardoso Flea Circus videos and live performances with Colombian-born artist Maria Fernanda Cardoso. The CFC has been presented at the Pompidou Centre Paris, San Francisco’s Exploratorium, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, and the Sydney Opera House. The video-tent installation has been acquired by the Tate in London as part of its permanent collection. The Philadelphia Fabric Workshop and Museum produced the short video (distributed by the Video Data Bank), which includes a soundtrack by Christian Marclay and Beo Morales.
In 2003 a double DVD anthology of works from 1988-2002 entitled RRH Videoworks was published by Mediacompress in association with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
Between 2000 and 2005 he collaborated (with Gillian Fuller) on the Aviopolis multimedia project (book, website, CD-ROM, DVD) about airports. The book was published by Black Dog Publications, London, 2004.
Current research projects include: “Video Art Online: from Ubu to Imperial Slacks” a critical history of video art in Sydney together with video artist John Gillies; “My Own Private Airspace”, a multichannel video of personal airflights and itineraries (with Leo Martyn animator andLawrence English sound); and “The Incredible VHS Video Remix Machine“, the working title of a collaborative project with Elvis Richardsonbased on archives of VHS tapes and VJ presentation tools.