PhD at Digital Ethnography Research Centre

I’m pleased to announce in February I will be embarking on PhD study at the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC), Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia.

A 3.5 year practice-based research period to study lens-based performance on video sharing networks, gesture and interface online and the influence of algorithmic cultures on the social body.

The support offered by a Design and Creative Practice ECP scholarship for the duration of the study will greatly support my practical outcomes, including new performance work, large-scale film making projects and exhibitions.

My research blog is now online and serves as a public platform for outcomes related to the PhD.

DERC focuses on understanding a contemporary world where digital and mobile technologies are increasingly inextricable from the environments and relationships in which everyday life plays out.

DERC excels in both academic scholarship and in our applied work with external partners from industry and other sectors.

DERC approaches this world and how we experience it through innovative, reflexive and ethical ethnographic approaches, developed through anthropology, media and cultural studies, design, arts and documentary practice and games research.

Our research is incisive, interventional and internationally leading. Going beyond the call of pure academia we combine academic scholarship with applied practice to produce research, analysis and dissemination projects that are innovative and based on ethnographic insights.

DERC partners and collaborates with a range of institutions in Australia and globally, including other universities, companies and other organisations. This includes collaborative research projects, conferences, symposia and workshops, and international visits, fellowships and publications.

The Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC) was established in December 2012 by Larissa Hjorth and Heather Horst with the aim of consolidating and further developing RMIT’s strength in international digital innovation. The Centre is now Directed by Sarah Pink who will be taking it into its second stage of development from 2016.

DERC members are aligned into Labs to represent their research interests, DERC Labs include:

Data Ethnographies Lab
Design+Ethnography+Futures (D+E+F) Lab
Bio Inspired Digital Sensing-Lab (BIDS-Lab)
Digital Transformations Lab
Visual Impact
Migration and Digital Media Lab

Emile Zile and Philip Brophy in conversation

Join Emile Zile and Philip Brophy for a conversational and unmoderated exchange as they select, screen and discuss each other’s video work. Both artists move horizontally between visual art, filmmaking and performance, working beyond the confines of strict categorisation. Their methods and tools are post-cinematic: scavenging and re-presenting the moving image material that surrounds them.

11 September 2017, 6.30pm
Free entry, bookings requested

Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square Melbourne


Alaska Projects performance Sydney


Everyday Machines #1
Sunday October 16 2016
Alaska Projects [William St], performances from 6:30pm
73-75 William St Darlinghurst

Alaska Projects in collaboration with Tom Smith presents Everyday Machines. This performance series brings together artists exploring the tyranny and poetics of everyday machines through performance.



Performance of identity. Mental collapse. Marketing move. Within the YouTube monologue of ex-Social Media star Essena O’Neill we hear an earnest call to arms to defend reality and remove oneself from the fracturing of the self as enabled by social media. Emile Zile uses this monologue (and subsequent call for donations) as a present day ‘everyman/everywoman’; Essena’s yearning for authenticity is our yearning for a life removed from pretence, consumption and image-management. Yet all is not what it seems and through an intertextual performative commentary on the monologue Zile descends into the Egoic hall of mirrors that we navigate online.

Jannah Quill will perform several text to speech translations simultaneously, and feed the resulting audio through pitch correction software. Jannah’s performance attempts to correct the uncorrectable, to extract the musical from randomised language, and to generate the new from the digitally banal.

Tè will perform their recent work 100_PERCENT_HITS. 100_PERCENT_HITS continues an investigation into the form and the production of the ‘pop song.’ The idea of the ‘radio-ready’ track—increasingly defined by standardised production, duration and audio quality—is here further condensed, examining what traces remain in the re-contextualisation of musical forms. 100_PERCENT_HITS is a performance that explores the generic—both as a standard and a site for the production of novelty.

In their new work ‘Racey Texts’ Get to Work explore texting and sexting as modes of communication that result in intimate/impersonal experiences. The work further explores how cultural identity is represented through ringtones, emojis and phone paraphernalia.

Performance at Castrum Peregrini

Memory Machine II – A series of exhibitions, debates, performances & publications on cultural memory & identity, initiated by Castrum Peregrini Amsterdam.

Exhibition & public program

Things to Remember
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27 February – 25 March

With works by Mehraneh Atashi, Dayna Casey, Amie Dicke, Nickel van Duijvenboden, DNK Ensemble, Maria Guggenbichler with Margit de Sad, Romy A. More, Egbert Alejandro Martina and others, Jonas Lund, Antoine Viviani, Emile Zile. Curated by Radna Rumping

How are digital media, endless storage space and new ways of communicating shaping the way we capture, share and retrieve our personal memories? The things we want to remember, do they still fit in a shoebox or are they floating around somewhere in ‘the cloud’ amongst the thousands of e-mails and images that our external memory can contain nowadays?

Saturday 27 February 2016, 16.00 – 17.30

Free entrance. A conversation with Amie Dicke, Simultaneous/Synchronous (Song) Performance DNK Ensemble (Koen Nutters & Seamus Cater), Performance Emile Zile

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Mining the Cloud

Mining the Cloud flyer final-1

Interval Projects
Mining the Cloud
A series of desktop documentaries
Thursday May 26, 7pm
Schoolhouse Studios
81 Rupert St. Collingwood


Interval presents Mining the Cloud: a series of desktop documentaries by local and international artists.

Charting the multitude of the Internet through the desktop interface, these films and performances record the virtual as real, traversing landscapes that fall outside our visual circuits. From abandoned virtual realities to electronic dumping grounds of Ghana, this is the detritus of late capitalism in a time of rapid technological change.

The desktop documentary is an emerging practice drawing from the disciplines of ethnography, archaeology and contemporary art. Using desktop browsers as both lens and edit suite, these films and performances excavate artefacts from under the “cloud”. These artists respond to the human impulse to navigate, archive, interpret and ultimately control the world around us.


Lettres du Voyant by Louis Henderson (UK)
Lettres du Voyant is a documentary-fiction about spiritism and technology in contemporary Ghana that attempts to uncover some truths about a mysterious practice called “Sakawa” – internet scams mixed with voodoo magic. Tracing back the scammers’ stories to the times of Ghanaian independence, the film proposes Sakawa as a form of anti-neocolonial resistance.

All that is Solid by Louis Henderson (UK)
A technographic study of e-recycling and neo-colonial mining filmed in the Agbogbloshie electronic waste ground in Accra and illegal gold mines of Ghana. The video constructs a mise-en-abyme as critique in order to dispel the capitalist myth of the immateriality of new technology – thus revealing the mineral weight with which the Cloud is grounded to its earthly origins.

Utopia 1.0: Post ­Neo ­Futurist ­Capitalism in 3D! by Annie Berman (US)
A first­-person expedition to Second Life, the once thriving virtual 3D online world, in search of what remains. Given the invitation to come build anything imaginable, what is it that we chose to create?

A performance by Emile Zile (AU)
Emile Zile’s performances use new-age healing apps, YouTube monologues and algorithmic portraiture to create audio-visual meditations on augmented spirituality and networked representations of the self.

Desktops solo show at Fort Delta

Emile Zile solo show Desktops at Fort Delta Melbourne 5 November – 21 November 2015
Performance 21 November


For his exhibition Desktops at Fort Delta, Zile further explores our attraction to communications technology and their ability to translate and encode our lived experience through a series of assemblages, constructed from office furnishings and other objects related to white-collar labour, self-help eBooks and online gaming communities. Zile has created desktop assemblages – each desktop signifying the absence of an occupant. The desktops themselves appear isolated from domestic or workplace environments and exude their own atmospheric qualities. They simultaneously suspend and assume narratives intrinsic to their inhabitants for us to ponder in the same way we might suppose the identity of someone we communicate with online, where they are, and what it looks like.

Accompanying these 3D assemblages is a suite of digital prints Zile has produced for the exhibition. These works appear as computer screen captures, search term collages and algorithmic portraiture. They build narratives within and between disparate collections of images selected and composed by Zile. By making his source material visible to us on the immediate and live platform of his computer desktop, Zile also reveals the performative framework for online viewing and consumption as a highly selective and editable one, where image-poetics emerge through the creative transparency of the screen.

Zile’s interest in activating site-specific performativity is also explored in Desktops through his request to insert the Gallery’s office desk into his allocated exhibition space. By revealing a commonly private and ancillary zone to us as a juxtaposed physical situation, ZIle allows for gallery administration and commerce to activate and inform his exhibition in real time – enabling a playing-out of site-specific performance politics to coalesce as real and represented exhibition content.

‘onscreen explorer goes irl voyeur in emile zile’s ‘desktops” I-D Magazine

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James Cameron’s Avatar at Channels Festival

James Cameron’s Avatar feature length performance September 19 2015


In the Epoch of the Near and Far invites contemporary audiences to reframe discussions on digital media. Flipping the much talked-about suggestion that emerging technological forms distort reality on it’s head, the exhibition proposes a relationship which sees our physical and digital lives mutually support and influence each other. Comprising the work of six Australian and international digital and performance artists, In the Epoch of the Near and Far is running as part of the Channels Festival for Australian video art.

The exhibition opens September 19 with a performance from Emile Zile, the Australian born Netherlands based artist whose work is informed by his own navigation of a technologically mediated reality. Featured artist Keith Deverell will also run an Artist in Conversation session on September 24 alongside art historian Dr. Grace McQuilten and exhibition curator Amelia Winata.

In the Epoch of the Near and Far runs from the 18-27 of September at Grey Gardens Projects in Fitzroy and features work from:

Petra Cortright (USA)
Heath Franco (AUS)
Marian Tubbs (AUS)
Emile Zile (AUS/NL)
Keith Deverell (UK/AUS)
Aaron Christopher Rees (AUS)

ACMI Video Contemporary

Artist talk and screening of Western Digital for Sydney Contemporary Art fair

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Curated by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Video Contemporary presented by Samsung, showcases an exciting and diverse selection of video works by artists at the forefront of their field. Curated into six themes (Duality, Constructed Worlds, On Time, Forbearance & Fortitude, Role Play and Material Beings) by Ulanda Blair and Jess Bram, (see full bio here) Sydney Contemporary is delighted to be collaborating with such an innovative and dynamic arts institution on the delivery of this exciting exhibition sector.

Talk Contemporary
Thursday, 10th September 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Speakers: Director Carroll/Fletcher, London JONATHON CARROLL, Artist SHAUN GLADWELL, Fair Director BARRY KELDOULIS and Artist EMILE ZILE. Moderated By Senior Curator and ACMI, SARAH TUTTON
Sydney Contemporary, Carriageworks, Video Contemporary Lounge

Panel discussion at C3 Melbourne

Unpacking Sound, Text & Speech

This talk and presentation will look at the staging of sound based works in gallery and non-gallery contexts, and the relationship between sound, language and visual representation. Featuring Emile Zile, Speak Percussion’s Eugene Ughetti and their Artist-in-Residence, Kaylie Melville, Alice Hui-Sheng Chang and Philip Samartzis (facilitator).