Back to Top


Back to Top

Lisa Cianci

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Last updated: October 27, 2014


Multidisciplinary artist, archivist & digital media developer


Lisa Cianci is an artist and archivist from Melbourne, Australia. Lisa creates artwork in both analogue and digital format, with her current focus on Internet-based dynamic, interactive art.

Lisa has exhibited her artwork both locally and internationally – in galleries and virtual spaces on the Internet. Lisa also teaches in VE Digital Media and Visual Art courses at Victoria University, College of Art. She is a professional archivist and a database / web developer, and has worked on many archival and digital media projects since 1993.

Lisa has completed a PhD at the School of Media & Communications, RMIT University. Her research project in interactive media uses dynamic web systems and digital media objects to generate an Internet-based artwork exploring artistic intent and the archival continuum.

She has also recently joined Dr Stefan Schutt to undertake research work for the Keepers of Ghosts project at the Centre for Cultural Diversity & Wellbeing at Victoria University


PhD Creative Media, RMIT University 2012
BA Fine Art, Victorian College of the Arts 1989
Adv Dip Electronic Design & Interactive Media, Victoria University 2002
Grad Dip Information Management (Archives & Records), University of Melbourne 1993
Grad Cert Tertiary Education, Victoria University 2013


2013 (2004 - ongoing) Blackaeonium Archive (online, interactive, database-driven artwork)
2011 Colour Fields, Obscura Gallery, Melbourne
2010 Colour Fields (
2006 Virtually Still – Still Breathing (interactive flash & video project)
2004 Same Kind (online interactive project)
2001 The Narcise Collar, online interactive, data-driven artwork
2001 Same Old Dreams, interactive art project
1997 Letters to M, Linden Gallery St Kilda, Melbourne, VIC
1995 Pins and Needles, Tin Sheds Gallery, University of Sydney, NSW


2012 Reconnect, Level17 Artspace, Melbourne
2012 (ongoing) Atemporal: a collaboration in archival space (online, interactive, database-driven artwork)
2011 Aura: The Haunted Image (group exhibition) Level 17 Artspace, Melbourne
2011 Group Exhibition, Obscura Gallery, East St Kilda, Melbourne
2010 10 Years of Java Museum
2010 Virion (Colour Field stills)
Perpetual Art Machine,com_gallery2/Itemid,50/lang,en/?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=1507)
[R][R][F]200x—>XP: global networking project (
2006 A Transient Sleep RGB #1 (Installation using Flash, webcam & projection) (with Jimmy Chan)
Victoria University Level 17 Artspace, Melbourne
2004 I-Ocean, JavaMuseum
2004 RRF 2004 – Remembering-Repressing-Forgetting, Global Networking Project National Museum of Contemporary Art/Kalinderu MediaLab Bucaresti/Romania, Bergen Electronic Arts Centre Bergen/Norway and New Media Festival Bangkok/Thailand
2003 Loading Morelia
La Universidad Michoacana, Morelia, Mexico
2003 PixelGarden online interactive project (with Ruth Fleishman)
2002 Matter + Memory(matière + mémoire), Montreal, Canada
2002 Open, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Ireland
2002 Free Biennial, New York, USA
2001 What's Your Vanity? Fitzroy Gallery, Fitzroy (part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival)
2001 V-Fest Virtual Gallery, Victoria University
1998 Personal Geography, Footscray Community Gallery, Melbourne (part of the Next Wave Festival 1998)
1997 Cabinet of Curiosities Project, Canberra – travelling exhibition, 1997 - 1998 "Kaleidoscope of Life" Biodiversity Exhibition (all major Australian cities and London)
1994 Passionate Women, Mechanics Institute Gallery, Brunswick, Melbourne
1993 Keith and Elizabeth Murdoch Travelling Fellowship Exhibition, Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne
1993 IF 6 WERE 9, Caulfield Arts Complex, Melbourne


2006 Vice Chancellor’s Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, Victoria University
2006 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning for the School of FEAES, Victoria University
2006 TAFE Research Grant, Victoria University
2003 Apple Universities Consortium Travelling Scholarship – Macworld (Victoria University)
2003 Eric Lund Award for Innovation in Education (Victoria University)
1994 Pat Corrigan Artists Grant (Australia Council)
1988 Theodore Urbach Encouragement Award (Victorian College of the Arts)
1987 Theodore Urbach Encouragement Award (Victorian College of the Arts)
1987 Dr. Linda Mohr Acquisitive Award (Victorian College of the Arts)


Cianci, L. & Schutt, S. 2014 “Keepers of Ghosts: old signs, new media and the age of archival flux” Archives & Manuscripts, Vol 42, No 1, March 2014, pp 19-32.
Schutt, S., Berry, M. & Cianci, L. 2014 “Lost Melbourne: A Digital Ethnography of a Facebook Local History Group”, Global Ethnographic, May 31 2014 <>
Cianci, L. 2010 “Born Archival: Creative Possibilities for Digital Media & Archival Methods”, Presented at: Future Proof: Resilient Archives 2020 and Beyond, Melbourne 12-17 October 2010, Australian Society of Archivists Conference
Cianci, L. 2006 “Points of Departure: Narrative Research in New Media Arts Practice,” Narrative Research Symposium, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
Cianci, L. 2005 “Points of Departure: keeping, using and reusing digital multimedia object”, Resisting the Loss of a Culture: Seeking Archival Means – Vital Signs Conference, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne Australia, September
Cianci, L. & Morgan, H, “Application of New Archival Theory and Database Technologies: Beyond the ADS”, Archives and Reform - Preparing for Tomorrow, Australian Society of Archivists 1997 National Conference, Adelaide, July 1997


PhD Abstract:

The Blackaeonium Project: Workspace/Keeping-Place - An Archival Continuum of Creative Practice

The Blackaeonium research project involves the development of an online system to store elements of artworks as an ongoing personal archive that also works as a creative framework for continuing development of new artworks. The creative works produced through the Blackaeonium archival system (itself the first creative project), demonstrate possibilities for working with the archive creatively and provide a model of possibility for creative practitioners to consider actively incorporating archival methods into processes for making and documenting artworks and related creative content. This research is partially a response to the increasingly urgent activity surrounding the development of a range of digital preservation strategies and systems by cultural institutions, recognising that much of our cultural and creative works will otherwise become lost forever.

The project has been undertaken to demonstrate the potential of empowering artists (firstly myself, and then others) to conduct our own documentation/archival practice within our creative practice (outside/beyond institutional selection), working with our “archives in the wild”. The artworks and supporting content developed through this research have followed a set of processes and methods developed by understanding and gaining knowledge from working in multidisciplinary fields of practice, and from the creative act, the archival act, and the practice-based research methodology that underpins the entire project.

The research involved my own art practice as the main case study. Other artists and guest audience members became participants in various parts of the project to further test my proposition that meaningful and deliberate keeping and documentation of selected content, and the creative act of recombination that happens through juxtaposition, remix and experimentation with content elements, can be harnessed as a method of preservation using an “archival continuum” framework to make this process more explicit through documentation.

Developing a creative project over a number of years revealed that the work undertaken throughout the project has employed methods and processes that attempt to stave off or at least delay the inevitable “archival entropy” inherent in our archives and systems by applying energy to the creative archival assemblage held in an online digital system through various means: the archival act; the creative act; and to a lesser extent, through the act of educating others about combining archival and creative acts.

The challenges of combining the archival act and the creative act in a practice-based methodology revealed tensions such as the granularity of archival description necessary for creative works, the definition of the “artwork” within the context of the “archival assemblage”, selection and documentation processes suitable for artists, resistance to archiving by artists, and requirements for potential future stakeholders.

Artists who understand the archival continuum and can apply it to creative practice (to our process, our content and the frameworks we use to present our work), through both archival documentation and the practices of reuse, remix and recombination, will be better able to keep our content live and alive in the archival assemblage. This can both maximise access to content at all dimensions of the archival continuum for artistic creative uses, and can enable creative work to be accessible and meaningful to others through space and time.

The Blackaeonium archival system, as a framework and structure enabling creative outcomes, demonstrates what is possible when working with the archive and variable media content in a continuum of creative practice. This project forms a link in the chain of developmental research undertaken by artists, archivists and curators that will benefit those working in the field to preserve and make accessible ephemeral and variable media artworks.

The research has shown, in demonstrated creative project work, supported by research and examples from the fields of practice, that artist involvement in the documentation of our work is more effective than relying on professional documentation alone. Artwork that comes with artist-created documentation will be more accessible, meaningful and useful for institutional and non-institutional stakeholders in future. Most importantly, the research has shown that it's possible to create artworks through the processes developed in this research project.

© 2009-2014 FACTORY ART Ltd - terms and conditions