Eco Voice Q & A: Dr Lisa Anderson, first artist to be projected on the Sydney Opera House.

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Dr Lisa Anderson, first artist to be projected on the Sydney Opera House.


Lisa Anderson’s projects and international residencies explore our connection to the stewardship of the planet through histories and stories found in folklore and superstition around the world. Installations use multi-media including video/sculpture/installation to explore and engage the landscape and the built environment in dramatically changing environments pushed by geopolitics of weather and mass migration.

Dr Anderson has lectured at several Australian and International institutions and been awarded Honorary Professorship at Federation University, the Innovation Fellow in Architecture at UTS; The Creative Fellow at the University of Wollongong, Visiting Fellow at Tianjin University China and the Inaugural Fellow and Artist at the Australian Museum.

Festivals projects include Singing up Stones, the first projection on the Sydney Opera House; Writing the City in the Brisbane Festival of Big Ideas and Sydney Writers Festival; Tiga Tiga for Ten Days on the Island, Tasmania, and Venice Biennale Fringe Festival and special projects for ISEA with Istanbul Biennale, and NightGalleries, Bangkok French Embassy.

We Burn Rainbows. Digital Print on Paper with burnt scars. 2007_2023. 110 x 75cm

To provide insights into parallel elements of beauty and destruction through the Anthropocene, Tim Langdon, publisher of Eco Voice, had the pleasure of facilitating a Q & A with Dr Lisa Anderson, first artist to be projected on the Sydney Opera House.

Q1. What inspired you to use the Anthropocene Epoch as your artistic lens? 

I have always worked with ideas and story. Working with landscape led me to look closer at it. What marks and scars are there and how we cause them. The rubbish we leave behind across the planet. The Anthropocene details the influence of people on the ecosystems of the earth as the greatest influence currently affecting weather, landmass, migration of animals and plants. I wanted to explore that marry of science and folklore.

Q2. What are some compelling examples of art depicting human activity having a significant impact on the planet’s ecosystems?

I think a lot of land art speaks of our engagement with the world so artists like Ana Mendieta who worked with placing the body and the marks left behind into the artwork is very engaged in  bringing attention to our engagement with the earth on a personal level. Robert Smithsons Spiral Jetty in Utah details the effects of erosion within a harsh salt lake environment, while direct artists calls to action is revealed in the Air2Air group working Chiang Mai. Amount Nongyao’s Last Music Box sculptural work pleads for action.

Q3. Are artists increasingly considering sustainability in their work? 

Sustainability has long been a consideration of artists. From my own experience it can be difficult and much more expensive to find materials and methods that are eco friendly, sustainable, fair trade, and recycled but where possible most artists certainly try.

Q4. How important is Art in drawing peoples’ attention to climate change and human activity altering ecosystems? 

Directly art stops people to consider things differently. Art in itself is a challenge and practice for the mind to see otherness and appreciate your world.

Q5.  What are some initiatives governments can implement, or expand on, to support sustainability-focused Artists in Australia?

Wow. That’s a big question. Probably a lot of focus on sustainability at a micro level through education, and carrots not sticks (so funding not just red tape).

Q6. How can publications, such as Eco Voice, play their part in promoting sustainability in the Arts?

Eco Voice tells important stories about artists and what we are saying and how we say it. We need to make that voice heard. In my show Beguiling , I use folklore to tell a wider story of our engagement with the world. There is an Echo goddess styled character in many cultures. She is the voice of nature but in several mythologies she has been cursed to only repeat the last words said to her. This means we really need to be silent and listen to nature….so we can see and hear what is going on.


First published in 2003, Eco Voice is your go-to publication for sustainability news in Australia. Eco Voice prides itself as an independent news platform with a clear focus on sustainability, with articles coming from a diverse range of contributors – all levels of government, corporations, not-for-profits, community groups, small to medium sized businesses, universities, research organisations, together with input from international sources. Eco Voice values community, conservation and commerce. Eco Voice is a media partner of the prestigious Australian Banksia Sustainability Awards – The Peak Sustainability Awards.

Dr Lisa Anderson


Beguiling is a multimedia exhibition, including both images and videos, by internationally renowned Australian artist Dr Lisa Anderson which explores the parallel elements of beauty and destruction through the Anthropocene.  The photographs, captured over many years including from visits to the Artic and Antarctic, have been altered through scarring with wax and burns, customised infrared filters and different printing surfaces, along with image twinning to suggest themes of eternity and disaster warning.

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