Impossible Nature: the art of Jon McCormack

AUD$39.95 RRP. 136 pages + DVD, colour, 2004
Published by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image

© Copyright 2004 Jon McCormack
ISBN 1 920805 08 7
ISBN 1 920805 09 5 (DVD)

This monograph is the definitive publication on the work of Australian artist and researcher Jon McCormack. With full-colour illustrations throughout, the book includes commissioned essays by leading international researchers and critics, full descriptions of the artist's works, biography and a DVD featuring for the first time sequences from Turbulence (1994), Universal Zoologies (1999), Eden (2000) and Future Garden (1998-2002).

>>See some sample pages
>>Ordering Information
>>Chapter Listing and DVD contents
>> Reviews: Review by Dr Gordon Monro | Review by Rob Harle for Leonardo

book cover image

From the back cover:

"What would life be like if it were made from computer algorithms rather than flesh and blood? For over a decade, artist and computer scientist Jon McCormack has produced enthralling experiences of "sublime computational poetics" with the intention of answering that question. Inspired by the science of Artificial Life, McCormack weaves a unique and complex world of computer-generated simulacra – strange and numinous spaces of rich electronic beauty and wonder that remind us of nature by their artificiality. These moving image and interactive works raise questions about real and artificial life, ecosystems, conservation values, human nature and the future of our experience of natural places.

This volume contains essays written by Jon McCormack over the last decade, along with texts by Jon Bird, Alan Dorin and Annemarie Jonson. It also includes a DVD, which makes available for the first time sequences from several of the artist's remarkable works. Demonstrating a fascinating intersection between art and science, this pioneering work offers tantalising and disturbing glimpses of "impossible nature": places that may one day become part of a new natural world we are destined to inhabit.

About the artist:

Jon McCormack is one of Australia's most acclaimed electronic media artists. His work has received a number of international awards and has been widely exhibited throughout Europe, Asia, the Americas and Australia. He is currently a senior lecturer in Computer Science and co-director of the Centre for Electronic Media Art at Monash University in Melbourne.

Produced in Association with the Australian Film Commission.
Published by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image."


Impossible Nature can be ordered directly from the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), or if you live in Melbourne, purchased directly from the ACMI front desk at Federation Square.

A number of bookstores in Australia stock the book or can order it in for you. You can also purchase on-line from bookstores such as Readings.

For commercial distribution and bookshop orders please contact Unireps (UNSW Press)



Foreword by Alessio Cavallaro, Senior Curator, Australian Centre for the Moving Image

• Art and the Artificial Jon McCormack
• The Beauty to Be Jon McCormack
• Booting Fantasia Annemarie Jonson
• The Real Thing Jon McCormack
• Containing Reality Jon Bird
• Art, Emergence and the Computational Sublime Jon McCormack
• Collaborating with the Siren Alan Dorin
• Selected works 1989–2004
• Artist's Biography
• Contributor Biographies
• Glossary, Bibliography, DVD Information


• Turbulence Video Documentary and selected animated sequences from the interactive
• Universal Zoologies selected animations from the interactive
• Eden Video Documentary and selected still images from exhibitions
• Future Garden selected images and visualizations

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