Dr Pia van Gelder PhD

PhD (UNSW), MFA (USyd), BMA (Hon)(UNSW)
Lecturer, Convener Bachelor of Design
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Research interests

art history, design history, media art history, music history, musicology, transdisciplinary art, speculative design, digital humanities, esotericism, energies, history of technology, history of medicine, history of science, anthropocene studies, theosophy, anthroposophy, divination, religion and technology, alternative therapies, subtle bodies, environmental humanities, feminism, gender studies, queer & anti-colonial methodologies, practice led research, hacking, intentional communities, artist communities


Pia van Gelder is an electronic artist, researcher and historian. Her art practice and scholarship investigates transdisciplinarity and historical and contemporary conceptions of energy and how these shape our relationship with technology, bodies and our environment. Her recent scholarship has concentrated on the influence of esotericism on electronic instruments of the 20th century.

Van Gelder’s work has been shown at the Black Mountain College Museum (NC, USA), Kyoto Art Centre, SuperDeluxe Tokyo, ISEA, Langgeng Art Foundation and iCan in Yogyakarta. Her work has been commissioned by Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Performance Space and Carriageworks. Her practice often involves designing and building electronic instruments that are presented in performance and interactive installation contexts. Van Gelder performs live at events and festivals including Liquid Architecture with a number of different sound and audio-visual projects. She curates and facilitates events and artist run initiatives including Dorkbot Sydney, which she founded in 2006, Moduluxxx, a festival of modular synthesis and Serial Space, an experimental art space that she codirected from 2010 to 2013. Often traversing the spaces of transdisciplinary and speculative art, her work has been discussed in recent critical texts including Prudence Gibson’s The Plant Contract, Art’s Return to Vegetal Life (Brill, 2018), Peter Weibel’s Sound Art, Sound as a Medium of Art (MIT, 2019).

Her writing has been recently published in the Journal of Sonic Studies (16, Materials of Sound). With Caleb Kelly, she has co-authored a chapter of the forthcoming 3rd edition of Nicolas Collins, Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking (Routledge) and coedited a forthcoming collection Feminist, Queer, Anticolonial Propositions for Hacking the Anthropocene: Archive (Open Humanities Press), with Jennifer Mae Hamilton, Sue Reid, and Astrida Neimanis.

Researcher's projects


Ed. Jennifer Mae Hamilton, Sue Reid, Pia van Gelder and Astrida Neimanis, Feminist, Queer, Anticolonial Propositions for Hacking the Anthropocene: Archive, Open Humanities Press, Forthcoming

Caleb Kelly and Pia van Gelder, “Livening Things Up: Australian Hand Built Electronic Instruments,” ed. Nicolas Collins, Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking3rd Edition, Routledge, 2020

Pia van Gelder, “Bodies and Energy, Circuits and Sound: Rethinking and Listening to Leon Ernest Eeman’s Relaxation Circuit with a Biosynthesiser,” Journal of Sonic Studies 16 Materials of Sound, https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/459050/459051

Tali Hinkis, Karl Lapidas and Pia van Gelder, “True Colours: A Video Endoscopy,” Das Superpaper Vol 33, (Sydney: Rococco, 2014), 50 - 55

Pia van Gelder, “Psychic Waves: On Meeting a Friend,” Psychic Synth, (Sydney: Performance Space, 2013), 10-14

Pia van Gelder, “My Machine Vision,” Firstdraft - Inside the Studio - Stories from the Emerging Artists Studio Program 1, Blood & Thunder Press: 2010



“Soft Synth No. 2,” Material Sound, Black Mountain College Museum, 06.19

“Psychic Synth No. 2,” McClelland Sculpture Gallery, Victoria, 04.19

“MOS,” “Noble Wave,” The Instrument Builders Project, Kyoto Art Centre, Kyoto, Japan, 09.18

“Soft Synth No.1,” Material Sound, Murray Art Museum Albury, 04-06.18

“Iron Star,” Sounding the Future, UTS Gallery, Sydney, 08-09.17

“Recumbent Circuit,” Primavera 2016 (group), Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 09-12.16

“Relaxation Circuit” (solo), Underbelly Festival, Cockatoo Island, and Westspace, Melbourne, 08.15

“MOS,” “Noble Wave,” Instrument Builders Project (group), National Gallery Victoria, Melb., 11.14

Psychic Synth (solo), Performance Space, Sydney Australia, 08-09.2014

Television Behaviour Experiments (solo), TV broadcast & Performance Space, Sydney, 11.2013

“Eyes Without a Face,” NSW Visual Arts Fellowship for Emerging Artists (group), Artspace, 10.2013

“You or Me?,” Sydney Contemporary Art Fair (solo), Firstdraft Gallery, Carriageworks, 09.2013
Audio Visionaries, SCA Gallery (solo), Sydney Australia, 07.2012

“AV Synth” (solo performance), SDLX 10th Anniversary, SuperDeluxe, Tokyo, Japan, 09.2012 

“AV Harp” (solo performance), Liquid Architecture (solo performance), ABC Studios, Sydney, 10.2011

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Updated:  02 June 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers