Avantwhatever is organised from the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people and we acknowledge their sovereignty. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and future, as well as to the elders of their neighbours in the Kulin Nation, and those of all communities. Especially indigenous peoples around the world whose land, sea, and air we inhabit, both in person and with the telecommunications and other infrastructure on which we rely. We ask you do the same. Our server runs from a data centre on Malay land, using 100% renewable energy.




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Avantwhatever Commissions Launch and Listening Party
with Peter Blamey, Stephen Cornford, Charmaine Lee, and Ben Byrne

Peter Blamey performing at Avantwhatever Festival 2016 | Photo: Tim Grey

Avantwhatever premieres the first in our new series of audiovisual commissions of digital sound, art, and design, presenting works from artists Charmaine Lee (New York), Stephen Cornford (Bristol), and Peter Blamey (Sydney) on Friday May 26 in the RMIT Black Box space in Naarm, with an introduction from curator Ben Byrne.

The commissions will be hosted on our dedicated audiovisual server and website, using the open web and peer-to-peer technology to make them freely accessible and discoverable using decentralised social media, as will be demonstrated as part of the event.

The first three commissions will be presented on the night, ahead of publication, using the RMIT Digital Media Black Box's bespoke audiovisual system to offer an ideal listening and viewing environment.

Commissions from experimental vocalist Charmaine Lee, and media artist and researcher Stephen Cornford will be premiered, followed by a live performance from commissioned musician and artist Peter Blamey.

Presented with the Design and Sonic Practice research group in RMIT University's School of Design, as part of Melbourne Design Week 2023

Free by RSVP, with attendees added to the Avantwhatever mailing list.

Book now


with community minded creative people

Avantwhatever.org is a meeting, discussion and sharing space for those working critically and creatively with experimental digital sound, art and design, especially listening, technology, ecologies, capitalism and living through and beyond all of these. Hosted in Singapore, on Malay land, in a data center powered with 100% renewable energy.

The server runs Hometown, a decentralised Twitter like social media software.

Along with features you would recognise from other social media, it includes the ability to post only to the local server, or so that your posts federate to other servers running similar software as part of the Fediverse.

It is free and ad-free, and your data is your own, you can delete it at any time, or export it to take to another server.

Please request an invite link here if you'd like to be involved, and one of our administrators or moderators will be in touch to show you around.


Ryoko Akama

Ryoko Akama is a sound artist/composer/performer who approaches listening situations that magnify silence, time and space. Her work aims to offer quiet temporal/spatial experiences, and is connected to literature, fine art and mixed media (technology). She employs small and fragile objects such as paper balloons and glass bottles in order to create tiny aural and visual occurrences that embody ‘almost nothing’ aesthetics. She composes text scores and performs a diversity of alternative scores in collaboration with international artists.

She runs melange edition, co-curates ame and co-edits and independent publisher mumei publishing.


Natasha Anderson

Photo credit: Marion Innocenzi

Since 2003 I have been exploring the creative possibilities of electronically transforming acoustic, mainly instrumental material, into new uncanny timbres. I am interested in creating preternatural and unsettling sounds — sounds that bear a strange or wholly mysterious relation to their original acoustic DNA. I am concerned with how these complex textures — often in combination with their instrumental source — can articulate aesthetic, social and political conditions in art-making and beyond. This search for an idiosyncratic material musical language has been grounded in research into psychoacoustics & auditory perception. I have been commissioned by the Sacrum Profanum festival, the SSO, the Bionic Ear Institute, ICE (New York), Adapter (Berlin), Ensemble Phoenix (Basel), Inland, Ensemble Offspring, the STC and the ABC.

Natasha Anderson's work is supported by the Regional Arts Fund.
The Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund is provided through Regional Arts Australia, administered in Victoria by Regional Arts Victoria.


Clare Cooper

Photo credit: Ali Crosby

Clare M. Cooper plays the harp and guzheng, sometimes she tap-dances. She’s passionate about the sociability of sound and its capacity to encourage compassion and radical acts of trust. She gets things started; the NOW now festival of experimental music and film, The Splinter Orchestra and Berlin Splitter Orchester, Smack/Bang Film Soundtrack Festival, and most recently co-founded the Design Activism Workshop, and Frontyard: a non-institutional space experimenting with community futuring and skill-sharing on Gadigal land. Cooper is a proud climate activist, and rank and file union member with the NTEU.


Byron Dean & Polly Stanton

Byron Dean is a sound artist and field recordist based in Narrm Melbourne. Working across acousmatic composition, performance and site-specific sound practice, his works reimagine and negotiate sensory experience of place through field recording, often exploring themes of transformation and polyphony of listening. Drawing relationships between sounds, environments and temporalities, his compositions are concerned with the portrayal and expansion of sonic experience.

Polly Stanton is an artist filmmaker. Her work primarily investigates the relations between environment, human actions, and land use. Sound and listening also play a critical role in Stanton's work, in both the creation and reception of projects; with listening practices and field recordings engaged with as a means to expand vision and consider the unseen elements of place.

Together their separate practices intercept to create multidisciplinary work that spans varying forms of sound and installation practice, experimental film, writing and publication.



doktorb is Adrian Lucas Healey, a music producer who has existed on the fringes internet music for the best part of 20 years creating noisy lo-fi found media cut-ups. Stylistically his music straddles the boundaries between noise, vaporwave, (very broken) breakcore and cybergrind (as well as a whole host of other completely made-up genres that may, or may not, have existed online for the blink of an eye). The seeds for this project were planted in the late 90s with Adrian’s discovery of the weird and wonderful world of Usenet. From these formative experiences a lifelong fascination with participatory internet culture grew and Adrian found himself looking for strategies to keep hold of the cultural fragments which captured his imagination. In this sense doktorb exists as a way of processing the mediascape, an experiment in guerrilla archival that diverts the flow of viral content using recontextualization as a strategy for remembering that helps him make sense of the hypermediated world in which he finds himself.


Bec Fary

Photo credit: Clara Slewa

Bec Fary is a creative audio producer and researcher living and working on stolen Marin Balluk/Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Country in so-called Footscray, Australia. They have worked on numerous podcasts, broadcasts and installations, and continue to explore local ecological listenings and experimental web design.


Amias Hanley

Amias Hanley is a sound artist and researcher based in Birrarung-ga (Melbourne). Their practice-based research considers relations of space, bodies, technology and contemporary ecologies. Engaging forms of performance, installation, and collaboration, their work often explores gender, sexuality and queer expression/s. Hanley's practice is interested in listening as an affective practice and the possibilities of sound as a communicator for matter-cultural gestures between human and non-human bodies. They currently work as a sessional tutor at RMIT University's School of Media and Communication.

Hanley was an artist in residence at Bogong Centre for Sound Culture (2020) and was the recipient of the Hearsay International Audio Arts Festival, Best Sound Art Award 2019 (IRE). They have featured work at Screen & Sound Cultures Eco_Media Symposium (2019), Falls Festival (2019), A Night at the Nicholas (2019), Hearsay International Audio Arts Festival (2019), Mapping Melbourne (2018), The Black Box Theatre (2018), The Design Hub (2017), Crack Theatre Festival (2016), Melbourne Meat Markets (2016), 107 Projects (2016).


an n/a

the machine is nowhere to be found, but everywhere to be felt
– Todd Hoffman

Rather than just record what I would have done live, I decided to make something for the internet. I've been harbouring a fascination with the likes of @lilmiquela and @shudu.gram, instagram influencers with millions of followers who, despite their professed hangovers and emotional posts, are unreal, computer-generated avatars. Unstable, porous borders between identity and reality, subject and object, have always intrigued. Where this eerie materiality — uncertainly both technological and corporeal — meets the capitalist machine of social media is where this work begins. Using Instagram as the frame, I'm wondering if a Flickr film technique of alternating image and black, together with shifting loops of acoustic & electronically-processed sound, will work to fill the after-image effect of the black frames with weird materiality. After all, on a laptop or phone, more likely than not it's the viewer's own gaze that stares back at them, mingling with the screen's smears. Foregrounding a materiality that disappears as representation becomes rendered elsewhere, the pulsing repetition of the loops and the Flickr film merge into clicks between posts. In those black moments, do we witness our own absence?...

Natasha Anderson's work is supported by the Regional Arts Fund.
The Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund is provided through Regional Arts Australia, administered in Victoria by Regional Arts Victoria.


Propositions for Listening

Propositions for Listening is a browser-based sound work that explores the contingent moments of fieldwork as a generative space of listenings. Drawing from field research undertaken during an artist residency at the Hepburn Wind farm in Victoria Australia, the work presents the field as an assemblage of networks between bodies and events, revealing the multilayered transformation of local phenomena. Juxtaposing sound, text and imagery as a shifting and iterative articulation, Propositions for Listening situates fieldwork as a productive space of knowledge making - where interplays and relationships coincide to make something new.

This work was created on the unceded territory of the Dja Dja Wurrung people. The artists acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.


Patrick Hase & Asher Elazary

Patrick Hase is a media artist/researcher living and working on unceded Wurundjeri land, who specializes in VR, animation and live A/V. His work explores the emotional impact of embodiment in virtual spaces by creating visceral non-mimetic experiences across varying digital platforms.

Asher Elazary is an artist, musician, and composer. He has worked in a variety of live, installation, and record contexts and has a strong interest in interaction, proceduralism, and collaboration to create new multidisciplinary works.

Having previously worked together conducting audiovisual works in physical spaces, Patrick and Asher have instead developed this work entirely through the process of online collaboration.


Sarah Hennies

Photo credit: Walter Wlodarczyk

Sarah Hennies (b. 1979, Louisville, KY) is a composer based in upstate New York whose work is concerned with a variety of musical, sociopolitical, and psychological issues including queer & trans identity, love, intimacy, psychoacoustics, and percussion. She is primarily a composer of small chamber works, but is also active in improvisation, film, performance art, and dance. She presents her work internationally as both a composer and percussionist with notable performances at Le Guess Who (Utrecht), Festival Cable (Nantes), send + receive (Winnipeg), O’ Art Space (Milan), The OBEY Convention (Halifax), Cafe Oto (London), ALICE (Copenhagen), and the Edition Festival (Stockholm). As a composer, she has received commissions across a wide array of performers and ensembles including Bearthoven, Bent Duo, Cristian Alvear, Claire Chase, R. Andrew Lee (Denver), LIMINAR, Thin Edge New Music Collective, Two-Way Street, and Yarn/Wire.

Her ground breaking audio-visual work Contralto (2017) explores transfeminine identity through the elements of “voice feminization” therapy, featuring a cast of transgender women accompanied by a dense and varied musical score for string quartet and three percussionists. The work has been in high demand since its premiere, with numerous performances taking place around North America, Europe, and Australia and was one of four finalists for the 2019 Queer|Art Prize.

She is the recipient of a 2019 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award, a 2016 fellowship in music/sound from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and has received additional support from New Music USA, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County.

Sarah is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Bard College.


Kiernan Ironfield

Photo credit: Natalie Ironfield

Kiernan Ironfield is a Dharug man and self taught Yidaki player. Through his music Kiernan creates spaces for to explore thoughts and be lead by the vibrations of the Yidaki. Kiernan acknowledges the Yolngu people as custodians of the Yidaki and the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation whose land he lives upon.


Lucy Liyou

Philadelphia-based artist Lucy Liyou synthesizes field recordings, text-to-speech readings, poetry, and elements from Korean folk opera into sonic narratives that explore the quotidian implications of Orientalism and Westernization. Though their music reflects the work of genres such as post-industrial and musique-concrète, Lucy Liyou is greatly influenced by audiobooks as well as music from the Impressionist period and Neoclassical period. Lucy Liyou’s debut project A Hope I Had, which caught the attention of South London based artist Klein, was a sonic examination of hereditary depression in Asian families. Their following and most recent project Welfare, which was released in March through Klein’s label ijn inc., is an ambitious analysis of the colonialist concept of self-care.


Mara Schwerdtfeger

Photo credit: Zoe Baumgartner

Mara Schwerdtfeger is a sound artist and composer creating performed pieces and commissioned soundtracks for dance, film, and installations. Her practice explores the crossover between physical and digital environments through the use of field recording and digital manipulation.

She holds a Bachelor of Design (Digital Media) from RMIT and attended LungA School where she collaborated with peers on weekly exhibitions creating and curating an array of works. Having studied violin from the age of four Mara completed her Viola AmusA in 2016 and performs in multiple bands and duos as well as solo.

Mara has been commissioned by SIGNAL, where she took the opportunity to expand her work exploring sound ecologies and multichannel sound installation, culminating in the piece Unrecognised Interference. Other projects have included collaborations with filmmaker Veronica Charmont (Specular, 2019; Bunset Soulevard, 2019), dancer Angela Valdez (Breathe, 2018; Of Space and Time, 2019) and ceramicists Lotte Schwerdtfeger (Autonomous Objects, 2018; Map (Onishi), 2017) and Sassy Park (Sailor Pete, 2020). She currently works with Liquid Architecture producing their podcast series.


Tom Smith

Tom Smith is a Melbourne-based artist, musician and researcher. His practice combines performance, video, electronic music, curatorial projects and critical writing. Tom’s work is concerned with the politics of creative economies, generic digital aesthetics, ambivalent affect and music as mode of critical inquiry. Tom’s work explores the tyranny and poetics of computational systems and other technology through eerie video assemblages and live performances of digital work routines and aesthetic production. Tom is also one half of production duo Utility, and runs an independent record label called Sumactrac with Jarred Beeler (DJ Plead) and Jon Watts.

Tom has completed a PhD through UNSW Art & Design, and teaches in the School of Design at the RMIT Melbourne. Tom’s works have been exhibited and/or performed at institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing), Nasjonalmuseet (Oslo), Floating Projects (Hong Kong), Goldsmiths College (London), Firstdraft Gallery (Sydney), Queensland University Art Museum (Brisbane), Alaska Projects (Sydney) and Blindside Gallery (Melbourne).


Splinter Orchestra

Splinter is a radically inclusive large-scale improvising orchestra that has been a forum for listening and sounding together for well over 100 exploratory musicians and sound artists living in or passing through Sydney for 2 decades. Currently we have a diverse membership of roughly 25. Our process of co-creation and the resulting music is probably best left undefined — amorphous and ephemeral qualities being inherent to the project — but we can say that playing is the group’s fundamental activity. We meet weekly, with ever-fluctuating line-ups, to do just that. Much of our public work in the last few years has been an exploration of ‘choreographed’ play in vast spaces, particularly outdoors, including Mungo National Park, Bundanon and The Pilliga, where we listen, move, sound and record, (and then listen back to the inscribed phenomena on our apparatus). In recent years we’ve developed an interest in sound installations, consisting of self-playing instruments, interactive sound-sculptures, visual and text provocations, sound devices and more. The elements of these ‘Splintstallations’, just like the many voices of Splinter, work together, sometimes in parallel, sometimes intersecting.

"Every Splinter Orchestra performance unfolds a unique improvisational sonic ecology combining highly developed music skills with thoroughly experimental sound-making and an intuitive compositional repertoire built from years of collective engagement. The entire space becomes a stage for performers and audience alike to wander, carrying their generative or listening attentions amongst, between and through an evolving sonic unknown.”
– Gary Warner, 2017

Splinters (past and present)

April Fonti - cello, Adam Sussman - acoustic guitar, Michael Sheridan - electric guitar, Clayton Thomas - double bass, Mike Majkowski - double bass, Rory Brown - double bass, Clare Cooper - guzheng/harp, Ben Gerard - piano, Jeff Henderson – saxes, Chris Abrahams - keyboard, Amanda Stewart - voice and text, Matt Earle - electronics, Martin Ng - turntables, Dave Goodman - drums, Nylstoch - electric guitar, Robbie Avenaim - percussion, Chris Burke - tenor sax, Jim Denley - flutes, Reuben Derrick - tenor sax, Matt Ottignon - clarinet and tenor sax, Darren Moore - percussion, Cor Fuhler - piano, Jo Derrick - trumpet, Dale Gorfinkel - vibes, Milica Stefanovic - electric bass, Luke Callaghan - laptop, Inge Olmheim - electronics, Peter Farrar - alto sax, Karen Booth - alto sax, Abel Cross - electric bass, Alex Masso - drums, Paul Taylor - percussion, Tom Fielding - tenor sax, Ian Pieterse - baritone sax, Simon Ferenci - trumpet, Monica Brooks - accordion, Emily Morandini - computer, Daniel Whiting - laptop, Shannon O'Neil - synthesiser, Kahtsee - percussion, Ben Byrne - electronics, Lloyd Honeybrook - alto sax, Gerard Crewdson - trombone, Finn Ryan - drums, Cass McGlynn - horn, Alex Davies - electronics, Jamie Fennelly - harmonium, Mirabai Peart - violin, Sam Dobson - double bass, Grant Arthur - trombone and banjo, Aemon Webb - guitar, David Green - shakuhachi + laptop, Rivka Schembri - cello, Laura Altman - clarinet, Melanie Herbert - violin, Tony Osborne - vocals and electronics, Dan Whiting - laptop, Andrew Fedorovitch - alto sax and little instruments, Josh Isaac - percussion, Dominik Krupinski - guitar, Sam Pettigrew - double bass, John Wilton - percussion, Drew Bourgeois - percussion, Heather Shannon - violin, Tim Wall - clarinet, Emily McDaniel - laptop, Tom Wade - double bass, Romy Caen - harmonium and electronics, Gail Priest - laptop, Alison Cachia - violin, Rishin Singh - trombone, Jordan Dorjee - turntable, Jack Dibben - guitar, Jon Watts - electronics, Shota Matsumura - trumpet +, Sonya Holowell - voice, Alon Ilsar - percussion, Martin Kirkwood - electronics, Marcus Whale - voice and electronics, Alexandra Spence - clarinet and electronics, Brianne Curran - violin, Andrew Brooks - alto sax and laptop, Alicia Kahn - clarinet, Joe Cummins - trumpet, Jeremy Tartar - flute, Helen Nehil - recorders, Tim Cunningham - guitar, Nadine Pita - violin, Cecile Roux - Cello, Danielle Zorbas - clarinet, Julia Reidy - guitar, Marco Cheng - guitar, Bonnie Stewart - percussion, Weizen Ho - little instruments/ movement, Yvonne Lam - percussion, Easter Toru - drums, Jack Stoneman - alto sax and computer, Sam Gill - alto sax, Luiz Gubeissi - electric and double bass, Maximillian Alduca - double bass, Prue Fuller - recorder, voice, objects, Axel Powrie - flutes, alto clarinet, objects, Adam Gottlieb - guitar / objects, Mel Eden - voice, text and electronics, Ruby Everett - alto sax, Mimi Kind - installations, Rhys Mottley - guitar and clarinets, Clara Pitt - flutes, Hannah Kim - percussion, Bárbara Guzmán-Galeb - voice and laptop, Nick Ashwood - guitar, Charlie Sundborn - alto sax, Solly Frank - clarinet and mouthshocks, Johannes MacDonald - flutes, Joshua Winestock - guitar, Phoebe Bognar - flute


Jon Tjhia

Photo credit: Tom Ross

Jon Tjhia is a radio maker, musician, artist and writer. He is the co-founder of the podcast Paper Radio, the co-editor of the Australian Audio Guide and the Wheeler Centre’s senior digital editor.

His audibles have been broadcast on radio stations around the anglosphere, at Manchester Literature Festival and the Barbican (UK), on stage at Sydney Opera House and Arts Centre Melbourne, on the podcasts Short Cuts and The Truth; and written about in The New Yorker, The Wire and The Age. He is a former member of bands including Speed Painters, ii, Aleks and the Ramps and others.

With the Wheeler Centre, Jon was part of the team that produced the series Better Off Dead (2016) and the multi-award winning series The Messenger, a collaboration with Behind the Wire. The latter documents the life of Abdul Aziz Muhamat, a Sudanese refugee living in immigration detention in Papua New Guinea.

‘how are you today’, a collaborative sound work involving men detained on Manus Island, recently appeared as part of Eavesdropping at City Gallery (Wellington) and The Shouting Valley at Gus Fisher Gallery (Auckland), after first appearing in Eavesdropping at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne. ‘Thing-Like', an installation, recently appeared in Resonant Bodies at Toronto Media Arts Centre.


Ben Byrne

Listener, organiser, and teacher experimenting with digital media, music and design while living through big tech and climate crisis

Director of Avantwhatever


Patrick Hase

Patrick Hase is a media artist/researcher living and working on unceded Wurundjeri land, who specializes in VR, animation and live A/V. His work explores the emotional impact of embodiment in virtual spaces by creating visceral non-mimetic experiences across varying digital platforms.