Sarah Jane Pell

Artist Statement


I am an underwater performer, artist-researcher and human-factors researcher mostly known for developing Aquabatics: an aqueous new media practice. This research practice is utterly unique, unconventional and innovative and I find myself very much alone. Nevertheless the bubble I create around myself is often an illusory part of the discipline that allows me to delve deeper into the research. The reality is that Aquabatics as a new form of Live art, philosophy and transdisciplinary research practice, connects me to many people and draws on many histories and newly combined disciplines that loosely categorize as new media arts research.

According to my understanding, an artist is a poetech way of being in the world and the term artist-researcher describes a person who is curious enough about life and the universe to take action towards making connections and pointing out the spaces in between dynamic points of reference. The art and science of this type of practice-based philosophy is vocational, and not occupational. It is a 24/7 way of life closely linked to the phenomena of breathing.

The pursuit of art and research in new media encompasses everything. In my experience, the more rewarding revelations and best physical performance comes when my biorhythms fire approx every 7th then 11th day. During this precious time, the white noise of the world disappears, and for up to 52+ hours, I make focused, unwavering advances towards new work and new ideas. Little interrupts me. This is predominantly a private affair and a time to learn more about human behavior, utility and performance and sometimes I have the opportunity to publish the results and/or perform these experiences live with an audience or group of peers. This may take the form of theoretical proposals, formal papers, talks and symposia, lectures and presentations, reports, short films, objects for installation, new creations for exhibition, apparatus and sculptures, prototype technologies, choreographies and larger-scale performance productions.

Processpatching is the only single other word that even comes close to describing the practice of new media artists. It is not as straightforward as saying 'performer', 'pneumatic sculptor', 'diver' or 'philosopher' however; my experience has shown that this kind of simplicity often brings further misunderstanding. Processpatching is not my word. It is Anne Nigten's word. It comes from her inspired thesis titled 'Processpatching, Defining New Methods in aRt&D' submitted University of the Arts, London Sep 2006. In brief, she investigates how electronic art patches together processes and methods from the arts, engineering and computer science environments to where new alliances with other disciplines are established. In essence, the kinds of strategies described by 'processpatching' allow me to postulate new theories on being and new possibilities for being in time, timelessness, without space and in the very heart of it as a process patcher: a person engaged in live, research, technical, association and inter-mapping across a whole range of fields and disciplines. Aquabatics therefore is the art of processpatching with contemporary performance, bio and new media technologies, commercial diving and space sciences.

Sarah Jane Pell Bio

Artist Sarah Jane Pell, PhD became a fully qualified commercial diver and established the Aquabatics Research Team in 2002 to explore commercial diving and creative practices together in a unique union. Originally focused on making underwater performances, Pell's work now spans aqueous live art, digital media, installation, prototype pneumatic technologies, philosophies and experiments with advanced life support and living systems. Her work has been presented in Australia, Asia, UK, Europe, Scandinavia and recently in the USA. Pell holds a PhD Edith Cowan University, Australia (2006) and SSP06 International Space University, France (2006). She is currently preparing postdoctoral space-arts research.