Living Data

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned
that this program contains images and voices of deceased persons.

Living Data

Track changes Interactions 2015

Disclaimers, Copyrights and Citations

Index 2015 2016 2017 2018 (In progress)
Combining subjective responses and collective knowledge

What role does gesture play in growing and sharing knowledge?

Dr Andrew Davidson is a marine microbial ecologist and world expert on phytoplankton. From his office at the Australian Antarctic Division he explains how "phytoplankton participate in all the processes that set our planetary chemistry and keep our ecology running". What do gestures add to his story?

Friday 14 August 2015. Kingston, Tasmania
Scientist: Andrew Davidson
Artist: Lisa Roberts
Recording: Lisa Roberts


Australian Antarctic Division
14 August 2015

Andrew Davidson explains:

So... the organisms I work with are... they have a value in their own right... they are... as individuals they... can do some extraordinary things... but really the most important roles they play are... are when they are involved in... linking processes... so... the contribution that they make to... trophic levels... you start off with small stuff that get eaten... by bigger stuff... that transfers all the way through... to whales and seals and penguins... and that sort of thing... that goes from... from phytoplankton to... particulate matter... that sinks out of the water... it produces... things like dimethyl sulphide... which are a gas that goes into the atmosphere... and forms clouds... really the importance of these organisms... they're beautiful in their own right... as you know... I'm sure you've seen some of them... their primary importance is in fact... in the way in which they participate... in all the processes... that actually set... our planetary chemistry... and... keep our ecology running... and all those sorts of things...

Dr Andrew Davidson,Australian Antarctic Division, 2015


Gestures of hands and eyes are hand-trace with a stilus on a Wacom drawing tablet, and using Adobe Flash animation software.

Wednesday 23 December 2015. Newtown, Sydney
Gestures: Andrew Davidson
Tracing/animation: Lisa Roberts




What do gestures convey?

Research on non-verbal communication indicates that human interaction is grounded in subtle but powerful physical behaviours, some of which are so subtle that they can only be perceived in very painstaking, frame-by-frame analysis of films. Yet all of us are able to perceive these physical signs intuitively, in that they create the complex felt sense we have of another person. A shift in relationship may not be seen but it will be felt, either positively or negatively.

Carol-Lynne Moore (1982)

Hand-traced digital drawings are made to objectively record gestures. Drawings are made with pencil on paper as subjective responses to the gestures and can serve as a form of active listening.

What do gestures tell us? How can we identify differences between the original and drawn gestures? What gestures are embodied in drawn responses? In 1928 by Rudolf Laban, the Hungarian teacher and movement researcher, invented a notation system (Labanotation) to quantify a body's use of time, space and energy (Moore. 1982.p.34). Laban's pioneering work has led to greater clarity in language used to describe movement, and for archiving choreographies for future generations. His methods are also used to identify congruence between our words and gestures. Movement analysis can be used to identify tension between the scientific and artistic aspects of our human nature (cognitive dissonance).

To be continued ...





Moore, C. (1982). Executives in Action: A Guide to Balanced Decision-making in Management. Macdonald and Evans.