Biography

Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine have collaborated together since 2001 when they met at art school, first making narrative-based stop-motion films, then moving into installation and interactivity, investigating ways to engage viewers physically and emotionally with their work. Recently they have created site-specific narrative, immersing themselves and working with different communities. Out In The Open (2016), a site-specific installation that uses puppet animation, was inspired by and based around the community of traders at Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne, and was created as a stand-alone film in 2017. In 2015 they collaborated to create Dwelling, an outdoor performance based work that engaged with communities in Melbourne's Western suburbs, blending performance, documentary video and animation.

Their work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Out In The Open premiered at the Melbourne International Arts Festival and is currently showing at international film festivals including Aesthetica Short Film Festival, UK, and New Chitose Airport Animation Festival, Japan. Dwelling was nominated for a Green Room award for Design and Realisation in Contemporary Performance. Their 2011 work, It’s a jungle in here won an Award of Distinction in the Interactive Arts category of the 2012 Prix Ars Electronica. Their installation You Were In My Dream, commissioned by Experimenta, won the 2010 Premier of Queensland's National New Media Art Award, Australia's most significant prize for new media art. They also won the People’s Choice Award.

In 2008 their animated film Doll Stories: Mary was shown as part of the International Digital Art exhibition in Beijing. In 2006 their installation Expecting was exhibited at the Institute for Contemporary Art, London and FACT, Liverpool. Expecting toured around Australia in 2004/2005 as part of the Experimenta: House of Tomorrow exhibition. Their previous work Play With Me was exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW as part of the Anne Landa Award, the first award-exhibition for the moving image and new media in Australia. Two of their works were shown at Media City Seoul 2004, the Korean Biennale of New Media Art.

In 2004 Van and Isobel made the film Clara, a 7 minute stop-motion animation. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival as one of nine short films in the Official Selection, where it won a Special Mention. Clara went on to win a Golden Hugo for Best Animation at the 2005 Chicago Film Festival. In January 2006 Clara screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

 

Isobel Knowels and Van Sowerwine

Portrait of Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine by Kristoffer Paulsen.