From 7pm Saturday 20th February to 7am Sunday 21st, IDEATION transformed the La Trobe Reading Room at the State Library of Victoria, commissioned by the library for the White Night Melbourne 2016. 

IDEATION is a collaboration between projection artist Nick Azidis, sound artist Lisa Greenaway, videographer Adem Jaffers and writer/film director Bentley Dean. 

Artist statement

The process of building IDEATION in many ways reflects the concept itself. Thinking about responding to the spectacular institution of the State Library of Victoria, in particular its grand Latrobe Reading Room, Nick wanted to do something political, something dangerous, something that would trigger inspiration in audiences to look at the world with a more holistic spirit. He sought out Lisa, Adem and Bentley, as artists who could approach a big, complex idea with open minds. Nick has known Lisa and Adem since the early ‘90s; the association with Bentley is more recent but just as simpatico. On meeting, these four minds collided and the concept grew towards being a positive message of the interconnectedness of all things, with an underlying ecological message that we ignore these connections at our peril.

The dome is a terrarium, a container of human experience, constantly growing. Standing on this threshold, we can explore both inside and out. We can travel anywhere, learn anything. It is the ideal place to explore the conception of an idea.

Telling the story of the forming of an idea, from inside, is telling the story of connection; the story of everything. From the moment of conception we are learning. Inside the womb, we can hear the world around us. As we are born we are born connected to history, nature and knowledge. If we focused on the things that connect us, rather than the things that divide us, what could we create?

All elements in this project have one thing in common: the changing nature of knowledge and patterns of growth that exist everywhere in nature. Fingers of hands. Tendrils and roots of stalks and bulbs. Synapses of brains. Are the patterns the same? Lightning strikes, electricity, rivers, deltas. Musical harmonies, languages, songs. Social groups, solar systems, nodes and connectors. The nervous system, heart, blood, the veins in an eye, branching from the heart.

The artists aim to create an experience that has a positive, emotional impact on the audience. We believe that art (and libraries) can inspire change, through a very simple device - by showing someone that, to quote Neil Gaiman, “things can be different.” Knowledge of alternate possibilities is something that art can provide. Art can bring forth a conceptual knowledge, a kind of learning that involves feelings and mental states such as empathy. Through showing, rather than telling; sharing and making connections, we can inspire people to think in a new way, in an inspiring and in a provocative way. IDEATION in this sense is a positive protest, an attempt to change the way people really think about our world and their place in it.

IDEATION draws on imagery and sound from many aspects of human existence, from many different cultures and forms of human expression, from the natural and the built world. 25% of the imagery in this show is drawn from the State Library of Victoria. The journey follows a path from the galaxy in which we live; into the womb; sound waves, neutrons and synapses; birth, the sun, the moon, tree roots, mind and nature; biology; human anatomy, plant anatomy and plant networks; fractal and geometry; mathematics and astrology; writing, speech, language, books, songs, chants and community; art, complex networks, geography, weather, electricity, city networks; nebulas, stars, comets, and us.

The soundscape works intricately with the visuals to take us on these journeys, triggering ideas and memories through evocative sounds from bellbirds in the Dandenongs, an Athens train line, sung passages from the Qur'an and bible songs from children in India, to recorded voices from the Golden Records launched with the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. The music forming the basis of the soundscape of IDEATION is a section of Beethoven’s ‘Concerto No. 5, in E-flat Major, Op. 73 ("Emperor")’. Listening to her father learning how to play this piece on the piano gave Lisa the conceptual basis for this work. We hear him playing, tentatively, in the opening. Through the work, the melody is teased out, growing ever more complex, until it is realised at the end in a 1938 orchestral recording. The quotes spoken by the 'spirit of the library' midway through the piece are taken from those engraved into the La Trobe Reading Room walls. 

The video work also draws on the artists' own family histories in part: 
"Whilst animating the geometric imagery midway through IDEATION, I'd tilted back in my chair seeking inspiration for some ideas for the treatment of that scene. Adjacent to my desk on the wall are several identical doilies made by my mother Kimet, which I had framed a couple years ago. Whilst staring at them I pondered upon how she would crochet these exquisite pieces by just looking at other crochet examples, no technical patterns from paper to follow, just looking, then reverse engineering, then recreating, sometimes blending ideas from different crochet pieces into a incredible 12ft long table clothes that still sit in a glory box until this day. I felt compelled to place a sampled image of that doily within the geometric scene as this was a prime example of a complex mathematical object made by someone educated only to grade 3 in a simple rural village in the mountains of Yugoslavia and who could only do simple addition. Yet this process seemed quite natural to her, there was an inherent imagination and intelligence lurking instinctively within, it just sought inspiration and the ideas weaved themselves through her hands." Adem Jaffers


NICK AZIDIS – Creative Director/Producer/Projection Artist -
LISA GREENAWAY - Co-Producer/Sound Designer -
ADEM JAFFERS - Co-Producer/Video Compositor/Animator -
BENTLEY DEAN - Co-Director/Writer

Piano in the opening: Victor Greenaway
Second voice: Magdalena Nowacka


The video/audio work:


The work in situ:

Watch a 360° interactive video of IDEATION in the Dome on White Night:

 To make this work, watch in the YouTube app on your smart phone.


The story of IDEATION: social media response: