Staff Profiles

Location: F Block, Level 2, Room F205
Phone: 60817
Fax: 60719

Assoc.Prof. Paul Thomas

Program Director Fine Art Honours

School of Art


2005 PhD University of Western Australia. 1996 MA (Hons), University of Western Sydney. 1976 B.A. (Hons), Camberwell School of Art, London

Associate Professor Paul Thomas

Dr Paul Thomas, is the program director of Fine Arts Honours at the College of Fine Art, University of New South Wales. Paul is the co-chair of the Transdisciplinary Image Conference at the intersection between Art, Science and Culture 2010, 2012 and 2014. In 2000 Paul instigated and was the founding Director of the Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth 2002, 2004. Paul has been working in the area of electronic arts since 1981 when he co-founded the group Media-Space. Media-Space was part of the first global link up with artists connected to ARTEX. From 1981-1986 the group was involved in a number of collaborative exhibitions and was instrumental in the establishment a substantial body of research. Paul’s current research project ‘Nanoessence’ explores the space between life and death at a nano level. The project is part of an ongoing collaboration with the Nanochemistry Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology and SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia. The previous project ‘Midas’ was researching at a nano level the transition phase between skin and gold. Paul has recently completed working on an intelligent architecture public art project for the Curtin Mineral and Chemistry Research Precinct. Paul is a practicing artist whose work has exhibited internationally and can be seen on his website Visiblespace.


Paul has been working towards developing sustainable research in the areas of convergence between science, industry and the fine arts in Australia. Some of these objectives he has managed to secure through the instigation of the Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth and currently the Transdisciplinary Image Conference at the intersection between Art, Science and Culture. Paul believes he could use his knowledge and experience in exploring the intersection between art, science and culture to assist with key research strategies at the College of Fine Art, University of New South Wales.


Current Research Projects

Nanoart: The Immateriality of Art,id=4971/

Examining art that intersects with science and seeks to make visible what cannot ordinarily be seen with the naked eye, Nanoart provides insight into new understandings of materiality and life. It includes an extensive overview of the history of nanoart from the work of Umberto Boccioni to the present day. The author looks specifically at art inspired by nanotechnological research made possible by the scanning tunneling microscope and atomic force microscope in the 1980s, as well as the development of other instruments of nanotechnological experimentation to offer a sustained consideration of this fascinating artistic approach.


Nanotechnology research projects


Paul Thomas in collaboration with Kevin Raxworthy

The Nanoessence project aims to examine life at a sub cellular level, re-examining space and scale within the human context. A single HaCat skin cell is analysed with an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) to explore comparisons between, life and death at a nano level. The humanistic discourse concerning life is now being challenged by nanotechnological research that brings into question the concepts of what constitutes living. The Nanoessence project research is based on data gathered as part of a residency at  SymbioticA, Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts,, University of Western Australia and the Nanochemistry Research Institute, (NRI) Curtin University of Technology.


NANOESSENCE at the John Curtin Gallery from Paul Thomas on Vimeo.


Curtin Mineral and Chemistry Research Precinct Public art project. The art project will be integrated into the two new buildings that will form the Mineral and Chemistry Research and Education Precinct. Paul Thomas, Mike Philips and Christopher Malcolm have been commissioned to develop the public art work in collaboration with Woods Bagot Architects.


The Midas project 2007 is a visual and sonic installation that amplifies certain aspects of experience at a nano level. The Midas project is analogous to the curse of the fabled Midas, King of Phrygia to whom Dionysus gave the power of turning all that he touched into gold. This gift of touch soon changed from the King’s pride in his ability, to a curse as even his food and drink transformed into gold. The metonymic work Midas is based on my research developed at SymbioticA and the Nano Research Institute at Curtin University of Technology.

Download Midas paper

Midas project from Paul Thomas on Vimeo.



Books (Authored, Research)

Thomas, P. 2009. Reconfiguring Space. Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag Dr. Muller Aktiengesellschaft & Co. KG.


Book Chapters (Authored, Research Quality)

Thomas, P. 2013 Nanoart: The immateriality of Art” Intellect, Bristol

Thomas, P. 2008. Nano Vibrational Interfaces. In Interface Cultures - Artistic Aspects on Interaction, eds C. Sommerer, D. Gestrich, L. Mognnoneau, 81-91. Bielefeld, Germany: transcript Verlag.

Thomas, P. 2008. Midas. In SK-INTERFACES: Exploding BOrders in Art, Science and Technology, 144-147. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press.

Thomas, P. 2004. Network Building in the Digital Age. In Innovation in Australian Arts, Media and Design: Fresh Challenges For, eds Rod Wissler, Brad Haseman, Sue-Anne Wallace, Michael Keane, 123-134. Queensland: Post Pressed Flaxton.


Refereed Articles (Scholarly Journals)

Thomas, P. 2009. "Midas." Leonardo 42,, no. 3. ISSN 0024-094X

Thomas, P. 2008. Nanoessence: God, the first nano assembler. Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research 6(3): 217-231. ISSN: 1477965X


Fully written papers (Refereed Conference proceedings)

Raxworthy, K, and Thomas, P. 2008. Nanoessence: Life and Death at a Nano Level. ACUADS 2008 Annual Conference: Sites of activity / On the edge, 01/10/2008. University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia: South Australia School of Art, University of South Australia.

Thomas, P. 2007. Materiality and Immateriality. CADE 2007 Computers in Art and Design Education, 12/09/2007. Perth: Curtin Print and Design.

Thomas, P. 2005. The Mirror as the Primal Space for new media. Altered States: Transformations of Perception, Place and Performance, 22/07/2005. Plymouth: University of Plymouth.

Thomas, P. 2004. Art Network Discussion. Creative Connections Symposium @ BEAP2004, 01/09/2004. Western Australia: Arts Research Network: Creativity Knowledge Innovation.

Thomas, P. 2004. the convergent Space-back to a Wearable Perception. thespacebetween textile_art_design_fashion, 01/04/2004. Western Australia: thespacebetween, Faculty of BEAD, Curtin U of T.


Minor Creative Works

Thomas, P. 2007. Stillness: Arts, Science and Technology. Director's Statement, John Curtin Gallery, WA: Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth.

Thomas, P. 2002. Locus: Director's Statement, John Curtin Gallery, WA: Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth.


Group Exhibition of Creative Works

Thomas, P 2010 Nanoesence, Art in the Age of Nanotechnology, A Perth International Arts Festival exhibition
, John Curtin Gallery, 5 February - 30 April 2010

Thomas, P 2009 Nanoesence, Biotech Art – Revisited Experimental Art Foundation Adelaide 9 April – 2 May 2009

Thomas, P. 2008. Midas - Documentary DVD Video. Kaliningrad, Russia: National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Kaliningrad.

Thomas, P, and Raxworthy, K. 2007. Midas. Prague: Stone Bell House.

Thomas, P. 2004. Cyberdeco: a screening adventure. Western Australia: Cyberdeco.

Thomas, P. 2004. thespacbetween textile_art_design_fashion. Western Australia: thespacebetween.

Thomas, P. 2003. Ambient Space. Western Australia: John Curtin Gallery.


Curating an Exhibition

Thomas, P. 2006. BEAPWORKS. Perth: Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth.

Thomas, P. 2005. BEAPworks. Western Australia: Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth.

Thomas, P. 2004. Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth SameDifference. Perth: John Curtin Gallery.