_________________________________________________________________ || | | ||| | ||| | | ||| | ||| | | ||| | ||| | | ||| | ||| | | || ||_|_|_|||_|_|||_|_|_|||_|_|||_|_|_|||_|_|||_|_|_|||_|_|||_|_|_|| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_| Siick Ascii art by Dan and Prue. MESS legends 2023.

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Catherine Ryan

Studio Supervisor

Catherine Ryan is an Australian artist, writer, performer and musician who works in media including performance, sound, text, video and installation. Her recent works examine how the imperative to be productive structures the experience of time under neoliberalism, as well as ways that concepts from musicology can provide fresh insights into the ecological crisis. Her performance lectures blur the boundaries between traditional lectures and live performance, combining the informative and educational aspects of a lecture with the creative and expressive elements of a performance.

She has presented work at galleries and festivals in Australia and Europe, including Gertrude Contemporary, MUMA, the Royal College of Art (London), the Vienna Biennale and the Melbourne Art Fair. She has written accompanying creative and philosophical texts for a number of art projects, as well as miscellaneous pieces in academic and not-so-academic publications. Her work uses humour to prompt questions and debate about the present social order – particularly about gaps and silences in public discourse where urgent social issues are not confronted, or where the collective political imaginary has proven inadequate to the challenges of the present.

Catherine is also a multi-instrumentalist who composes electronic music.

She holds a Masters of Contemporary Art from the Victorian College of the Arts and a Master of Arts in philosophy and critical theory from Monash University. She is currently undertaking a PhD in the School of Art at RMIT University.

Favourite MESS Memory

There's so many great memories, it's hard to choose! But a real highlight was doing a residency at MESS in 2021-22 to develop an experimental performance lecture called Krell and the Destruction of Worlds. Part of the creative development involved exploring generative music using an arcane sequencer at MESS called the Daisy. Daisy is a rare generative CV sequencer. With its utilitarian, foursquare silver panels and rows of cryptically-labelled switches and outputs, Daisy looks like something escaped from the Bat Cave.

The performance lecture I created during the residency brought together performative musicology and electronic music synthesis to address the existential terror many of us feel when we contemplate how human-made climate change is permanently changing the regular cycles of life on our planet, rendering a familiar world unfamiliar. It also discussed the B grade 1950s sci-fi spectacular "Forbidden Planet", the first major film to include an all electronically-composed score.

With the support of MESS's wonderful staff, in collaboration with Liquid Architecture, Krell and the Destruction of Worlds was presented at the Meat Market Stables. One section of the performance involved me playing sections of wild, semi-randomly-generated tones on absolutely enormous speakers using Daisy, a Boomstar SE80 and an OTO Machines Bam reverb pedal. It was a blast!

Top three instruments at MESS
Ondes Martenot, Lyra-8, OTO Machines Bam Reverb

MESS Staff