People Like Us is one of three new exhibitions opening at UNSW Galleries on Friday 4 September, along with Streets of Papunya, celebrating and exploring the renaissance of painting in Central Australia, and the early career work by the finalists in the 2015 John Fries Art Prize.

If you would like to be one of the first to see the exhibitions you can still RSVP for the opening night.

Curated by Dr Felicity Fenner, Director of UNSW Galleries, People Like Us is sure to stimulate audiences with its exciting mix of virtual worlds, breath-taking video works, interactive digital technologies, data visualisation, sound and music delving into the connections between our inner selves, each other and our environments. Any visitor will leave with a prismatic impression of the human condition, from the dance of molecules at a nano-biological level to the emotional, social and cultural transitions of cities and mass entertainment events. 

George Poonkhin Khut’s Brighthearts app uses your real-time bio feed data in heart rate controlled images and sound. Originally a collaboration with paediatrician Dr Angie Morrow, Staff Specialist, Kids Rehab, at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, the aim of the BrighHearts project is to design, build and then test, a biofeedback assisted relaxation training ‘app’ that potentially offers benefits above and beyond current iPad-based ‘distraction’ methods for children who under go painful recurrent procedures.

John McGhee’s digital animations invite visitors to take the game console controls on a wild journey into human blood vessels. These “macro” three-dimensional virtual realities inside human bodies using data from MRI and CT scans are set to revolutionise how doctors examine and inform patients about what is going on in their bodies. You can read more about McGhee's work in this recent article in The Australian.

Italian video artist Yuri Ancarani’s Da Vinci, focuses on the eponymous specialized surgical robot whose mechanical arms perform intricate operations. While this may sound like something from science fiction - such procedures are actually becoming more commonplace. Ancarani's video captures the precision and delicacy of the machine as a kind of working human intelligence.

With Award-winning Luxembourg artist Su-Mei Tse’s aurally immersive purring cat portraits, visitors don headphones, to listen to the purring of each unique animal. The experience is oddly sensuous and comforting yet conveys a peceptual disonnance, the static images providing a sense of absence.

Michael Nyman, well-known for his music and soundtracks for influential art films, such as The PianoGattaca and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover has produced a poignant sound work, a symphony commissioned by the 2014 Liverpool Biennale to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough stadium collapse disaster. The people’s names sung in Memorial are not those of celebrity players, but those of 96 everyday sports fans who tragically lost their lives attending a Saturday afternoon football match. They are ordinary people rendered extraordinary by art. You can read more about Michael Nyman's work appearing in People Like Us in this Sydney Morning Herald article.

Volker Kuchelmeister and Laura Fisher’s Veloscape offers participants a chance to take a virtual bicycle tour of Sydney inside the gallery space. Veloscape addresses the need for a greater understanding of the Sydney cycling experience beyond the utilitarian and safety elements by exploring the unique perspective the cyclist has on the urban environment, and the spectrum of emotions and sensory stimuli that shapes their experience.

Daniel Crooks splices together tracking shots of Melbourne laneways to observe the activities of strangers. Crooks describes the work as ‘an attempt to exert absolute control over the camera – to take the perfect precision of the computer-based world and to impose that on a reality that is unpredictable, imprecise and otherwise difficult to control’.

Claire Healy & Sean Cordeiro reinvent everyday objects to create memorable structures that address problems relevant to everyday life. In People Like Us their dissected car inhabits the gallery foyer (you can see it being installed on our Facebook page) accompanied by their first ever video work presented inside the gallery documenting a mechanic patiently dismantling and rebuilding a racing car before our eyes.

Other well-known Australian artists featured in People Like Us include Aboriginal-Chinese artist Jason Wing whose sound work tells a moving story about the Stolen Generations and Angelica Mesiti, who's Rapture (silent anthem) dramatically and silently observes the trance-like euphoric state of music festival fans. Joan Ross animates the British invasion of Australia in a witty post-colonial narrative that combines art history and building construction noise. 

People Like Us is a National Exhibitions Touring Support (NETS) Australia exhibition developed by UNSW Galleries.

People Like Us will tour nationally from 2016 to 2019, delivering cutting-edge contemporary digital media art to regional and remote Australian communities as part of the National Touring Initiative. The tour commences in Burnie, Tasmania and continues to a further 13 galleries and arts centres in regional centres across Australia including Mount Gambier, Geraldton and Alice Springs. Managed by Museums & Galleries of NSW on behalf of NETS, People Like Us forges connections between the lives and experiences of diverse Australian audiences. 

People Like Us is part of Season 2 of Living Here Now, along with Streets of Papunya. To find out more about this season or the John Fries Prize 2015 go to the UNSW Galleries page.

The National Touring Initiative is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its principal arts funding body, and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

The NETS Australia network comprises Artback NT, Art on the Move WA, Contemporary Art Tasmania, Country Arts SA, Museums & Galleries of NSW, Museums & Galleries Queensland, and NETS Victoria, and is supported by the Australia Council and state and territory funding bodies.