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

All those moments will be lost like tears in the rain

The artists Sarah Burger and Ceel Mogami de Haas are initiating an audio exhibition in relation to their ongoing project Tu’i Malila based on their common interest in the film Blade Runner by Ridley Scott (1982). For the occasion of this procuration at the Médiathèque they relate their research to the polymorphic work of Chris Marker as it is collected in the Fonds Christophe Chazalon at FMAC and invite eight artists to question, redistribute, and interpret it. The exhibition is introduced by Terence Broad’s video work Blade Runner – Autoencoded

Sarah Burger, Matthias Gabi, Ana María Gómez Lopez, Alexis Guillier & Méryll Ampe, Arvo Leo, Ceel Mogami de Haas & Mathieu Arbez-Hermoso, Lena Maria Thüring, Emile Zile

With the support of
Ernst und Olga Gubler-Hablützel Stiftung, Fondation Leenards, ProHelvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture

Fonds d’art contemporain de la Ville de Genève (FMAC)
Rue des Bains 34
1205 Genève

Ouverture du mardi au samedi de 11h à 18h, ou sur rendez-vous
Ouvert pendant les fêtes du 26 au 30 décembre 2017
T +41 22 418 45 40

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


Another Space: VR Eyeballs and CGI Limbs

Diego Ramirez on Another Space groupshow Dumb Brunette blog 20 July 2017

Speaking of gestures, Emile Zile performed a live reading with a video component on the closing night of Another Space at Testing Grounds. This performance featured the artist standing up and reading from a laptop as he projected his image with enlarged eyes on the wall behind him. Like a Skype video conference, the audience could see Zile’s alien reflection in conversation with an overbearingly utopian background that resembled a Mac desktop stock image. His reading was ironically aligned with a post-4k rhetoric, seemingly welcoming us to a future that already seems dated. As Emile Zile’s performance unraveled, flashbacks of Zile’s past works came to mind: particularly the logo miming in Five Production Company Logos in 3d (2010), where he pantomimed a succession of hyperbolic logos, and his equally idiosyncratic performance OMG_sisyphus (2011-13) – in which he treated a heavy stone like his laptop in a ritual of futile dis-connectivity. The artist’s hands now seemed forced to stay still, carrying the weight of an actual laptop that kept him from gesticulating his words. Suddenly, Emile Zile’s proclamations made me aware of my sore back, strained computer vision and the IRL social anxiety that comes after my ‘sassy’ tweets. Indeed, the bodily effects of banal technologies, like the snapchat filter on Zile’s face, became manifest.

Emile Zile and Sven Lütticken in conversation

Within the framework of the exhibition “Liquid Cooled: new works by Emile Zile”, LIMA organises a public screening and discussion night. The artist Emile Zile and art historian and critic Sven Lütticken will talk about Zile’s work within the context of the LIMA Collection – ranging from early gems from the seventies (Douglas Davis, Dan Graham) to Zile’s current body of work. Performance on television, social media and the performativity of the mass media will be recurrent themes.

Entrance: € 7,50 / 5,-
Free entrance with: Cineville pass
Language: English

Arie Biemondstraat 111
1054 PD Amsterdam
The Netherlands
+31(0)20 389 20 30

This programme is part of the exhibition Liquid Cooled: new works by Emile Zile
LIMA is proud to present its first exhibition of new works by the Australian artist Emile Zile. Liquid Cooled will present prints, video works and a performance by the artist who currently has a residency at the Rijksakademie voor Beeldende Kunsten.

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

Fort1 Fort3 Fort4 Fort5 Fort6 Fort2

Listening Project

Mildura Biennale listening project 2-5 October 2015

ListenWWW-1 ListenWWW-2 ListenWWW-3

Linked by a pair of ear bud headphones, a couple sit before the camera. I ask them to each select a piece of music, that they are emotionally linked to. They then listen to the music together, one ear each, linked via the extended earbud. I begin the camera rolling and leave the room, telling them to listen to both songs and be seated in front of the camera. The amount of body language they express to the camera is up to them.

Portraits of ‘love and music’ from Mildura ABC News

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)