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 technologies, bodies and our environment. Her recent scholarship has concentrated on the influence of esotericism on electronic instruments of the 20th century.

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 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, sound studies, musicology, transdisciplinary art, speculative design, digital humanities, esotericism, energies, energy humanities, history of technology, history of medicine, history of science, science and technology studies, anthropocene studies, religion and technology, intentional communities, environmental humanities, feminism, gender studies, queer & anti-colonial methodologies, practice led research, hacking