Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth 2002 – 2007

This archive of The Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth (BEAP) 2002 – 2007 has been created by Paul Thomas the founding director.


The Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth (BEAP) was an informative and engaging platform for the debate, presentation and experience of cultural projects, ideas and innovation occurring at the intersection of art, science, technology and society.

It was the premiere showcase festival for this kind of cultural practice in Australia and it was the only one of its kind in Western Australia.  BEAP  presented a broad program of benchmark exhibitions, industry conferences, screenings of moving image content, 24 hour Internet hosted events, thematic workshops, public forums and specially commissioned artworks by local artists.

BEAP was initiated and founded by Paul Thomas in 2002, and realised through significant partnerships with the John Curtin Gallery and the Studio for Electronic Arts at Curtin University of Technology, SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia, and Central TAFE. A voluntary curatorial team developed the program under the theme of LOCUS, the place where we believe consciousness exists 2002 with Paul Thomas being the Director. He was also the Director for SameDifferent BEAP 2004.

2002 LOCUS, the place where we believe consciousness exists

31st July – 15th September 2002


The Biennale of Electronic Arts, Perth actively embraces the opening of new technological frontiers.

BEAP is an international event which includes a conference, symposiums, forum and exhibition presenting the theoretical, cultural and philosophical basis of Electronic Arts practice. The inaugural thematic focus for BEAP is LOCUS, the place where we believe consciousness exists. The idea of place is being renegotiated through the developing biological relationships, affecting consciousness. These effects are further confronted through the external input of computer generated and augmented virtual realities. We find ourselves as the centre of this point of convergence, our senses become the portals, our skin becomes the screen between these immersive realities. This portal, this relocated screen, should now be at the forefront of minds, when the skin no longer defines the boundaries of our sense of self.

The Biennale examines these explosions of activities at the intersection of art, science, and technology, by practitioners in the field of developing electronic technologies from Australia and around the world. It will focus on the ongoing need for dialogue and contextualisation to represent the current states in which we will find ourselves.

BEAP shares an interest in the possibilities of using exhibitions and discussion to explore aspects of practice as well as developing networks to critically evaluate work. From Perth the concept of Locus is placed in the wider context of international forums, communicating with other groups and individuals in Australia and overseas.

The John Curtin Gallery and the Studio for Electronic Arts in the School of Art at Curtin University of Technology have sought expressions of interest from artists working either individually or in partnership with scientists to instigate an international electronic arts exhibition. This exhibition will feature cutting-edge work from international, national and regional contemporary arts practitioners. The exhibited works will explore the boundaries of new technologies and present them to the public in a challenging and thought provoking way.

There has been a significant attitude shift in recent years with artists and scientists reaching out beyond their own domains and this comes at a time when global economics, fuelled by new developments in science and digital technology, is providing increasing opportunities for artistic and technological interactivity. Artists have always been among the first to apply technological advances to their work, and using electronic and digital technologies for seeing and expressing ideas is becoming commonplace in the scientific arena. This mutual interest in shared electronic and digital tools is fostering a common language between artists and scientists, and the Internet and email enable artists and scientist’s new access to one another. Given all these factors there is now an exciting opportunity for developing collaborative partnerships for informing and inspiring society with the artist and scientist working together in the field of electronic arts.

BEAP Catalogue 2002.pdf


Technology is converting human experience into data streams at ever-quickening rates. And yet we still seem reluctant to let go of our analogue or ‘old world’ ways of visualising both ourselves and the world around us. It is this dichotomy that the exhibitions and conferences presented as part of BEAP04 will be exploring and interpreting in celebrating the complex relationships between the virtual and the real.

BEAP 2004 Catalogue

BEAP presentation to ISEA to host the event in 2006


Since 2002, BEAP has been dedicated to exploring contemporary developments within the nexus between the arts, science and emerging technologies.

At this cutting-edge, there are practitioners ranging across many disciplines, their work impacting upon diverse audiences. By bringing together artists, curators, academics, technicians and audiences, BEAP seeks to explore the dynamics of today’s digital and bio-age.

The theme for BEAP 07 is ‘stillness’, which might seem counterintuitive in a world in which scientific knowledge, technological and communication speed increases daily. It is precisely for this reason that the theme was chosen. Humanity is confronted by continual multi-faceted advances and needs time for reflection to comprehend what these changes mean.

BEAP has drawn together significant artworks that will be exposed to the concepts of stillness, contemplation and discernment. In this exploration of ‘stillness’, the 3rd Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth offers a program of showcase and satellite exhibitions, international conferences, and other special events, including the inaugural BEAP Club at The Bakery ARTRAGE Complex.

We invite you to embrace ‘stillness’ during BEAP 07.

“Data is growing and spreading at a rapid rate into every corner of the globe. This data is something akin to a maelstrom – a global storm that’s unstoppable and unpredictable. But, at the storm’s eye – as in nature – there is ‘stillness’, a momentary space for reflection.”

Marshall McLuhan

This example comes from my catalogue essay on my development of the theme stillness is transcribed from Marshall McLuhan’s last public lecture where he discusses Edgar Allan Poe’s A Descent into the Maelstrom, (Poe 1841)


“In the descent into the maelstrom Poe imagines the situation in which a sailor who has gone out on a fishing expedition, is caught by not watching the turn of the tide in a huge maelstrom or whirlpool. And he sees that his boat will be sucked down into this thing, he begins to study the action of the strom. He observes that some things disappear and some things reappear by studying things that reappear to which he attaches himself to one of these things, he saves himself. Pattern recognition in the face of a huge destructive force is the way out of the Maelstrom.”[1]

[1] Marshall McLuhan Extract form live audio recorded lecture by from the recent Derrick de Kerckhove Lecture McLuhan still dead? 25 years later.



Dr Paul Thomas Founder and former director, Biennale of electronic arts Perth Inc

BEAP_Stillness_2007 Catalogue

Biennale of electronic arts Perth 2007


BEAP businessplan 2005