Melinda Rackham

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Melinda Rackham (born 1959) is an Australian Networked Media Artist, Writer and Curator, and founder and producer the influential -empyre- online media arts forum, which she initiated as part of her Doctoral thesis on Art and Identity in Virtual Reality Environments.[1]

Rackham studied sculpture and performance at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney, graduating in 1989 with the Sculpture and Alumni prizes. It was here she was first involved in Australian artist-run initiatives, initially as Co-Director in 1987 (with Adrienne Doig) of ArtHaus laneway gallery in Darlinghurst, then as a member of Ultimo Project Studio Collective in Ultimo and Glebe in Sydney.

In 1995 Rackham became one of the earliest Australian curators of Internet Art whilst completing a Master of Arts in Women's Studies. In collaboration with Louise Manner, Ali Smith and Sandy Indlekofer-O’Sullivan, Rackham produced the 1995 exhibition WWWO : Wollongong Worlds Women Online - a national Australian online women's group exhibition, featuring the first or early digital works from 30 Australian women including Francis Dyson and Mez Breeze.[2]

As an artist and commentator on identity, locality and sexuality in networked, 3d multi-user, game and mobile environments her artworks were widely exhibited during the first wave of internet art (1995–2003) in exhibitions such as Art Entertainment Network, Beyond Interface, Arco Electronico, File, ISEA, European Media Art Festival, transmediale, lab3D. She was included in Perspecta99, la Biennale de Montreal 2000, and Biennial of Buenos Aires 02. -empyre- featured in events at NTT InterCommunication Center Tokyo, and documenta in the Documenta 12 magazines project (2006).

In 2000, Rackham's carrier won The Mayne Award for Multimedia as part of the Adelaide Festival Awards.

In 2003 Rackham was employed as the Curator of Networked Media at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne. This allowed her to bring the diversity of internet art to a wider audience in the major 2004: Australian Culture Now exhibition.

As Director of the Australian Network for Art and Technology [3] from 2005 until 2009 she forged significant industry partnerships and elevated public engagement and critique of research and practice in art, science and new technologies. She specifically fostered the development of wearable technologies - producing the seminal re:Skin Masterclass, and curating Coded Cloth exhibition of wearable technology at Samstag Museum in 2008.[4]

As an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University, Dr Rackham continued to curate and write on the emerging art and cultures manifesting across networked, responsive, biological, wearable and distributed practices and environments. In 2010 she has curated Dream Worlds: Australian Moving Image,[5] platforming artists on the 27 meter long public screen in Beijing's exclusive Sanlitun Village or large screens in Xian, and examined the cultural impact of media arts in China and Hong Kong.

More recently she has been undertaking residencies to research and write the substantial monograph Catherine Truman : Touching Distance[6] 2016 and the collaborative volume of poetry and prose ADOPTED[7] 2017.

Currently Professor Rackham holds an Adjunct Research position in the School of Art Architecture and Design, University of South Australia. She is enjoying the challenges and wonders of living in the remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Homelands of Central Australia, while engaging with contemporary and interdisciplinary arts, embracing many ways of making and fashioning poetry, fictive memoir and socially informed texts.


  1. ^ Josephine Bosma, Constructing Media Spaces: The novelty of net(worked) art was and is all about access and engagement, MedienKunstNetz,
  2. ^ see Australian Feminist Art Timeline
  3. ^
  4. ^ Coded Cloth: a 21st-Century Revolution in Art, Fashion and Design Leonardo Vol. 42, No. 5, MIT Press, USA, p 386-393 [2009]
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^

Further reading[edit]

Barnett, Tully. "Remediating the Infected Body: Writing the Viral Self in Melinda Rackham's carrier." Biography 35.1 (2012): 45-64.

External links[edit]