Stephen Jones


Artist, Electronics Engineer, Theorist


Born: Sydney, Australia, 23 January, 1951

Education: B.Sc. 1973, ANU.





I have been active in video production since 1974. My first involvement was with Bush Video and the Paddington Video Access Centre where I learnt video editing and technical production. I subsequently taught myself electronics and built several video synthesisers for use in video art performance and installation work. I also provided technical support in the "new media" arts (when they were still known as Video Art). Projects included technical support for the Biennale of Sydney 1976, 79, 82, 84, technical support for Nam June Paik & Charlotte Moorman (April 1976) at the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney. Technical installation of other major exhibitions including Kaboom (1994) and Sound in Space (1995) both at the MCA, Sydney. I provided Technical Producer support for a number of video productions at the Paddington Video Access Centre from 1976-78. I curated the VideOzone show at the Ozone Cinema (now the Chauvel) Paddington Town Hall, July 1978. I was technical manager for the first two Australian Video Festivals, 1986 and 1987.


In 1982 I set up Heuristic Video, a post-production facility for independent video production. I built the facility and acted as editor for many of the works that were produced there. In 1983 I joined up with the electronic band Severed Heads and produced the world’s first live video performances with a band as part of the band's touring show. I continued to work with Severed Heads until 1992.


In 1989 I joined the engineering department of Pro-Image Post as part of the installation team building their new facilities. When these were up and running I stayed on to do the full documentation of the facility and then to develop the infrastructure for one of the first fully digital video post-production facilities in Australia. This involved the design and implementation of digital-to-analogue and analogue-to-digital converters, digital video switching and distribution amplifiers, the necessary cabling, installation as well as operational staff training.


On completion of this project I became a freelance installation engineer and designer looking after Garner McLennan Design's facilities and later developing a MJPEG video converter board for the Shotlister Non-Linear editing system. I also went back to technical support provision for artists and museums. I built custom electronics for works by Rebecca Cummins, Robyn Backen and other artists. I have since continued to design and manufacture small runs of electronic devices for various clients both in the arts and museums and the commercial video industry as well as for clients in Japan.


From 1996 to 1999 I worked on a project called the Brain Project. The aim was to develop a survey of the study of Consciousness in western science and philosophy. Areas covered included early and contemporary philosophy of mind, neuroscience, neural network theory and Al, organised systems, cybernetics and complex systems. There is a web-site <> and I produced a CD-Rom of this research.


In 1998 I produced a first pass of a history of the electronically generated image in Australia for dLux Media Arts for a symposium called Synthetics, which was presented at the PowerHouse museum in July that year. This consisted in 8 important pioneers in computer graphics and video synthesis discussing their early work. I presented my work with video synthesisers here. I also built and showed The Reading Machine: Towards the realisation of Charles' and Ada’s future, a Brain Project installation at ArtSpace, Sydney, July, 1998.


In 1999 I spent 7 months working at ATR (Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute) in Kyoto, Japan, building custom electronics for two major Artificial Life installation works [Haze Express shown at Ars Electronica 1999, and Pico_Scan shown at Sieben Hugel, Berlin, 2000] by Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau.


In 2000, I installed Sommerer and Mignonneau’s Pico_Scan at the Sieben Hugel exhibition, in the Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin, Germany. I attended, and presented a paper, at Alife 7, in Oregon, USA, August 1st - 7th, 2000, and likewise Consciousness Reframed 3, Caerleon Wales, August 23rd - 25th, 2000. I produced the visual layer for the Sinfonye (led by Stevie Wishart) performance of music by Hildegard von Bingen in Der Alte Misuk Tage at the Brandenburg Dom, August, 2000. This consisted in imagery based on the von Bingen manuscript paintings plus the lighting and staging of the concert. I returned to ATR, Japan, to build the user interface for Sommerer & Mignonneau’s Riding the Net, Sept - Nov, 2000. Presented Synthetics at ISEA 2000, Paris, December 10th, 2000.


Since 1998 I have been primarily engaged in researching the history and development of art & technology as represented in computer graphics and electronic and digital imaging in Australia. I continue working as an electronics designer for artist’s interactive projects and other prototype development. Clients include Rebecca Cummings, Robyn Backen and Rea. I have contributed papers to Consciousness Reframed IV at BEAP in Perth and to the Computer Art Congress in Paris France, December, 2002.


Between 1999 and 2004 I have done a range of experimental technical development projects for the Advanced Telecommunications Research Laboratory in Kyoto, Japan, and for television industry and art installation projects in Sydney. The most recent is a multi-DVD player synchroniser system for use in museums. I have had several exhibitions of my own digital artwork and have continued the research of the history of the electronic arts in Australia.





Open Processes at Watters Gallery, February, 1977: developed and produced and installed the video system.


Took part in Video Spectrum, at Latrobe University, Melbourne, September, 1977.


Produced Vide0zone at the Ozone Cinema, Paddington Town Hall, July, 1978.


Video Tapes from Australia: Curated by Bernice Murphy and myself. I did the actual curating, gathering the works and prepared the catalogue. Bernice Murphy was executive producer. This exhibition toured North America in 1979-80, being shown at the Kitchen in New York, Video Free America in San Francisco, LAICA in Los Angeles and the Video Inn in Vancouver, Canada. I travelled with the exhibition, installing the show and speaking about it at each venue. Subsequently it was presented as Project 30: Some Recent Australian Videotapes at the Art Gallery of NSW and it was also presented at the Venice Biennale 1980.


Permutations/Portraits an interactive video synthesiser work shown at the Biennale of Sydney,1982


Took part in Future Imagery at Metro TV, July, 1982, where I showed my main video synthesiser. A live-in-the-studio recording with the electronic band Severed Heads was a main feature of the day.


Took part in Scanlight: New Developments in Video Art, at the Australian Centre for Photography, 1985.


Took part in Video Now at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 1985.


Chasing Skirt an interactive video installation by Severed Heads at the Biennale of Sydney, 1988. Also in the Melbourne (NGV) tour of the Biennale. Later shown at Video Positive '91, Liverpool, UK.


Numerous Severed Heads performances and tours both in Australia and overseas (North America and Europe). 1984 - 1991.


Feeding Back, a video installation included in the exhibition Post-Code, curated by Dennis Wilcox for Performance Space, 1994.


The Brain Project Forums, Performance Space, August, 1996. These were five days of discussions I led covering the topics of the Brain Project research.


The Reading Machine: Towards the realisation of Charles' and Ada’s future. A Brain Project installation at ArtSpace, Sydney, July 2 - 25, 1998. The Reading Machine was also a finalist in the National Digital Art Awards, 1999 and was shown at the IMA, Brisbane, Oct. 15-30, 1999.


Synthetics: The History of the Electronically Generated Image in Australia, A 2 day Symposium curated by Stephen Jones, for dLux Media Arts, presented at the PowerHouse Museum, Sydney, July, 1998.


Images from the Brain Project, Gallery East, Clovelly, NSW. 19-28 February, 1999.


A Severed Heads Retrospective: 4 short video pieces about how some of Severed Heads' video clips were made, commissioned for the Universal Machine at the PowerHouse Museum, Sydney, 1999


Momiji: An Autumn Dialogue between Sandy Edwards and Stephen Jones, Gallery East, Clovelly, NSW, May 3-13, 2001. For which I produced a set of scrolls with stories of my time in Japan (in 2000)


The Reading Machine + 6 digital prints in Intersections of Art and Science at Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, UNSW, Paddington, NSW, June 7 - July 14, 2001.


Constructed Memories at Stills Gallery, Sydney, May 28 – June 28, 2003 large scale digital photo collages constructed as scrolls and presented in a site specific manner.





1976: $2,000 from the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council to prepare and publish the proposal and develop the set-up for Open Processes.


1976: $500 from the Creative Development Branch of the Australian Film Commission to contribute to Open Processes.


1979: $1500 from the Australian Film Commission to build a video synthesiser.


1986: Production grant from the Creative Development Branch of the Australian Film Commission to produce the Brain Project. Held in trust until 1996. Produced the Brain Project CD and web-site from this grant.


1998-9: Fellowship from the New Media Arts fund of the Australia Council.


2000: ANAT Workshops and Conferences fund grant to attend Alife 7 and Consciousness Reframed 3.


2000: Australia Council New Media Fund presentations and Promotions grant to present Synthetics: The Development of the Electronically Generated Image in Australia to ISEA 2000, Paris, December 10, 2000


2002: Australia Council Visual Arts and Craft Board to research a history of computer graphics in Australia.



Publications & Presentations


Jones, Stephen, (1976) A Proposal for a Video Installation and Show at Watters Gallery, Darlinghurst, Sydney, February 1st - 12th. Self-published. The proposal for Open Processes.


Jones, Stephen, (1977) "Open Processes". A report of the show at Watters Gallery, City Video vol.2, no. 1, May 1977.


Jones, Stephen, (1979) Notes on the Cybernetics of Language and Video, self-published.


Jones, Stephen, (1979) Videotapes from Australia catalogue, October, 1979. Catalogue for the touring collection. Australian Gallery Directors Council, Sydney, 1979.


Jones, Stephen, (1980) A Report on the Tour of the VideoTapes From Australia in North America. Report to the video producers and artists whose works were included in the collection.


Jones, Stephen, (1986) "Some Notes on the Early History of the Independent Video Scene in Australia" in Scott, Jill (ed.) The Australian Video Festival, 1986 Catalogue.


Jones, Stephen, (1988) "Interacting with Your TV" in Penny, Simon (ed.) Irrelevant Ethics: Notes on Art Practice in a Technological Context to accompany the Poetechnica exhibition by Virtual Object, Performance Space, Sydney, July, 1988.


Jones, Stephen, (1988) "Illusion, the Brain, Animation and Video" paper presented at The Illusion of Life conference produced by Alan Cholodenko.


Jones, Stephen, (1994) “Feeding Back: The Automata Tapes." Catalogue essay from the POSTcode show, Performance Space, Sydney, 1994


Jones, Stephen, (1996) The Brain Project Web Site. <>


Jones, Stephen, (1997) The Brain Project. Self-published CD-Rom, an enhanced version of the website.


Jones, Stephen, (1997) "A note on a possible physiology of subjectivity, and some comments on what a conscious machine might want to do for itself " In Ascott, Roy (ed.) Consciousness Reframed Conference Proceedings, Centre for Advanced Inquiry into the Interactive Arts (CaiiA), University of Wales College, Newport, Wales, UK.


Jones, Stephen, (1998) "Some suggestions for a neurobiological theory of consciousness." Poster presented at Towards a Science of Consciousness, Tucson, Arizona, April, 1998,


Jones, Stephen (1998) "On Bubbles and Seamlessness" a commentary on John G. Taylor's "Cortical Activity and the Explanatory Gap" in Consciousness and Cognition, vol.7, no.2, June 1998, pp.180-184.


Jones, Stephen, (1999) "On Qualia and Information." a paper presented at the Towards a Science of Consciousness conference held in Tokyo, May 1999.


Jones, Stephen, (1999) "Can there be Non-embodied Information?" in Ascott, Roy (ed.) Reframing Consciousness. Intellect, Exeter, UK.


Jones, Stephen, (1999) "Towards a Physics of Subjectivity." a paper presented at Invencao,

Sao Paulo, Brazil, August 1999. In Ascott, Roy (ed.) Art, Technology, Consciousness.

Intellect, Exeter, UK. (2000)


Jones, Stephen, (2000) "Relations, Information and Emergence." Poster presented at Towards a Science of Consciousness, Tucson, Arizona, April, 2000.


Jones, Stephen, (2000) "Some comments on a philosophy of Virtual Reality: Issues implicit in "Consciousness Reframed"." Leonardo vol.33, no.2, 2000.


Jones, Stephen, (2000) "Sensing, Communication and Intentionality in Artificial Life." In Sugisaka, M and Tanaka, H. (eds.) Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Artificial Life and Robotics, Oita, Japan, January, 2000.


Jones, Stephen, (2000) "Evolvability in the Context of the Biosphere." A presentation at ALife 7, Reed College, Portland, Oregon, August, 2000. In Maley, C.C. & Boudreau, E. (eds) Artificial Life 7 Workshop Proceedings and Nehaniv, C.L. (ed) Department of Computer Science Technical Report No. 251: Proceedings of the Evolvability Workshop, University of Hertfordshire.


Jones, Stephen, (2000) "Bootstrapping the World into Being” paper read at Consciousness Reframed III, CaiiA, Newport College, University of Wales, 2000. in Proceedings.


Jones, Stephen, (2000) “On the Evolution of Artificial Consciousness.” A presentation at Future Screen 2000, dLux Media Arts, PowerHouse Museum, Sydney. October 29, 2000. On the architecture and processes of developing intelligent and conscious artifacts.


Jones, Stephen, (2000) “Synthetics: A History of the Electronic Image in Australia” a presentation at ISEA 2000, Paris, December, 2000. On the history of computer art and video graphics in Australia.


Jones, Stephen, (2001) “Intelligent Environments: Organisms or Objects?” in Convergence vol.7, no.2, (Summer) 2001, pp.25-33. on the ethical issues attendant upon building intelligent spaces and entities.


Jones, Stephen, (2001) "On Resolving Classical Experience with the Quantum World" a paper read at Towards a Science of Consciousness, Skovde, Sweden, August, 2001


Jones, Stephen, (2001) “On the Evolution of Artificial Consciousness.” in Keleman, J. and Sosik, P. (eds) Advances in Artificial Life, Proceedings of the Sixth European Conference, ECAL '01, Prague, Czech Republic, September 2001. pp.427-431.


Jones, Stephen (2002) "The HyperMuseum" a paper read at the 3rd Science Centre World Congress, Canberra, February, 2002. on the realisation of an intelligent physical hypermedia system in the museum.


Jones, Stephen, (2002) “On Resolving Classical Experience with the Quantum World” another version of the paper read at Consciousness Reframed IV, Perth, WA, August 2.


Pachepsky, L., Taylor, T. and Jones, S.(2002) "Mutualism promotes diversity and stability in

a simple artificial ecosystem", to appear in Artificial Life, vol.8, no.1, pp.5-24. Experimental work on the consequences of the production of useful wastes in artificial systems.


Jones, Stephen, (2002) “The Evolution of Computer Art in Australia” presentation at the Computer Art Congress, Ecole Speciale d'Architecture, Paris, France. December 2002.


Jones, Stephen, (2003) “What is (the) Meaning in/of all of This?” in Tofts, D., Johnson, A-M. and Cavallaro, A. (eds.) Prefiguring Cyberspace, Power Publications. A statement of the motivation behind my artistic practice.


Jones, Stephen, (2003) "The History of the Electronically Generated Image in Australia" in Leonardo, vol.36, no.3. 2003


Jones, Stephen, (2003) “On Resolving Classical Experience with the Quantum World” Technoetic Arts, vol.1, no.2.


Jones, Stephen, (2004) “Philippa Cullen: dancing the music” to appear in Leonardo Music Journal, vol.14, 2004