Keith Armstrong is an experimental artist profoundly motivated by issues of social and ecological justice. His engaged, participative practices provoke audiences to comprehend, envisage and imagine collective pathways towards sustainable futures. He has specialised for over twenty years in collaborative, experimental practices with emphasis upon innovative performance forms, site-specific electronic arts, networked interactive installations, alternative interfaces, art-science collaborations and socially and ecologically engaged practices.
Keith’s research asks how insights drawn from scientific and philosophical ecologies can help us to better invent and direct experimental art forms, in the understanding that art practitioners are powerful change agents, provocateurs and social catalysts. Through inventing radical research methodologies and processes he has led and created over sixty major art works and process-based projects, which have been shown extensively in Australia and overseas, supported by numerous grants from the public and private sectors.
His interdisciplinary work Intimate Transactions received an Honorary Mention in the 2005 Prix Ars Electronica in Austria, represented Australia at the National Gallery of China for Media Art China (Synthetic Times) during the 2008 Olympics Cultural Festival and was shown in 22 venues including the ICA London and is now held in the permanent collection of ZKM Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe Germany. Keith's interactive installation, Shifting Intimacies, developed during an Arts Council England residency, was premiered at the ICA, London. His interactive installation Knowmore (House of Commons) was shown at the Mediations Biennial in Poland in 2010. In 2011-12 he directed the Remnant Emergency Artlab project in Australia, New Zealand and India with outcomes including the high-profile Bat-Human Project in Sydney. His work Finitude was featured in the 3rd Art and Science International Exhibition and Symposium, Beijing, China at the China National Museum of Science and Technology. Media Works Night Rage and Long Time, No See? featured in ISEA 2013 Sydney, and in 2014 Light of Extinction was featured in Thingworld: International Triennial of New Media Art at the National Gallery of Art in Beijing, China.
Through 2011-15 he forged important new collaborative partnerships with a range of biodiversity conservation organisations and ecologists across the Australian continent. This resulted in a series of major commissions for works, including Sydney Powerhouse Museum, the Queensland Museum, Media Art China and Siteworks Festival at Arthur Boyd’s property, Bundanon, Australia. In 2016, he presented a major solo show of five new works in Sydney at UTS Gallery - the Over|Many|Horizons project - collaborating with an international team of marine scientists, climatologists and cultural activists. That year he first travelled to South Africa to instigate a socially-engaged project around sustainability and poverty reduction called ‘Re-Future’, funded by the prestigious Andrew Mellon Foundation. This came to fruition in 2017 with the presentation of three festival events co-created with township residents, under the banner Seven Stage Futures. In 2017, he mounted a major solo show of five works in South Africa (The Mesh), exhibited his art/science work Eremocene (Age of Loneliness) at the prestigious Ars Electronica Festival in Linz Austria, and began a ten-venue tour (2017-2020) with the Experimenta Make Sense: International Triennial.
Keith was formerly an Australia Council New Media Arts Fellow, a doctoral and postdoctoral New Media Fellow at QUT and a lead researcher at the ACID Australasian Cooperative Research Centre for Interaction Design. He is currently an associate director of QUT’s Creative Lab research centre (p/t), author of numerous chapters and papers, and an actively practicing freelance new media artist.