Under the Surface

A challenge to find what is under our earth’s surface … exploring mining and minerals

Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines – Super Pit (KCGM). Photo by Eleanor Gates-Stuart
Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines – Super Pit (KCGM). Photo by Eleanor Gates-Stuart

‘… our ability to generate large geoscience datasets is beginning to outstrip our ability to integrate and interpret them. Capturing and managing the geological uncertainty, incomplete evidence, and the scientific debate characteristic of creating an understanding of Australia and its mineral systems through time is a major challenge’.*

*Uncover: Australian Exploration Geoscience Research, Searching the Deep Earth A Vision for Exploration Geoscience in Australia (Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, Australia, 2012

‘Under the Surface’ focused on WA mining and minerals and the innovation involved in looking under the earth’s surface working with research scientists at CSIRO WA and Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines. Visualising innovation and discovery is a crucial part of this investigation in communicating  the context of scientific research and its brilliance as it places Australia at the cutting edge of global science. ‘Under the Surface’ was commissioned by the Scitech Discovery Centre (WA) and as Artist in Residence, Gates-Stuart explored ways in which art can help communicate science to non-scientists and scientists alike, particularly in this instance of the science museum. The installation aimed at playful engagement allowing the audience to interact with the artwork by using their body gesture (hand movement) to control and explore the layers of context.

'Under the Surface' Concept Development - Video sequencing © Dr Eleanor Gates-Stuart
‘Under the Surface’ Concept Development – Video sequencing © Dr Eleanor Gates-Stuart

Influenced by scientific innovation, earth science and mining technology, with reference to historical artefacts, ‘Under the Surface’ was a collaboration of knowledge and information sharing, in bringing this artwork to completion. It explored complexity of technology in scientific and industrial innovation, repositories of information (both physical collection and electronic) through visual communication and interpretation through artworks.

'Under the Surface' by Artist, Dr Eleanor Gates-Stuart at Scitech WA
‘Under the Surface’ by Artist, Dr Eleanor Gates-Stuart at Scitech WA


Dr Eleanor Gates-Stuart, Scitech’s Artist in Residence 2016 @ Rio Tinto Innovation Central
‘Under the Surface: Mining & Minerals’ in association with CSIRO WA (Mineral Resources National Research Flagship)


Scitech Rio Tinto Innovation Central
Andrew Hannah
Serena O’Neal

CSIRO Mineral Resources WA
Dr Steve Harley, Dr Louise Fisher, Dr Peter Schaubs, Dr Belinda Godal, Dr Margaux Levaillant

Matt Adcock, David Feng

WA networks
: Christine Boase, AngloGold Ashanti

KCGM – Superpit

Aaron Budarick, Mt Charlotte KCGM
Marty Lake, KCGM

Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP)
: Dr Jyotindra Sapkota, Dr Wayne Hitchcock, Geoscience Mapping, Geological Survey, Department of Mines and Petroleum

Geoscience Australia
Dr Liam O’Brien, ICT Innovation and Services
Dr Bobby Cerini, Visualisation and Science

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