Stella Brennan

With a practice that spans the handmade, new media, curation, installation, social projects and urban design, Stella Brennan’s work deals above all with navigating the space and time between human subjects. Brennan prises open history, its losses and possibilities, interrogating colonialism, industrialisation and computerisation. Brennan has exhibited across Australia, Asia, North America, Europe and New Zealand and has been awarded Residencies including at Apex Arts in New York City, and Artspace in Sydney. After graduating MFA from the University of Auckland in 1999, Brennan co-founded Aotearoa Digital Arts and co-edited The Aotearoa Digital Arts Reader, the first comprehensive text on digital arts practice in New Zealand.

While her concerns remain consistent, her avenues of expression are diverse. Grounded in a sculptural practice and the materiality of making, her screen-based works range from a stitch-for-pixel hand-embroidery of the desktop of her computer (Tuesday, 3 July 2001, 10:38am, 2001–2002), to imagery gathered with a discarded medical scope (The Middle Landscape, 2009). She combines remaindered technologies with the close to hand – consumer-grade cameras, home-made scientific equipment, a portable spa pool (Wet Social Sculpture, 2006). Her interest in the physicality of language and a conception of narrative as a technology has led to works ranging from a room formed of hanging flags with text burnt through their folded layers (Black Flags, 2016) to a rough approximation of pscychotropic architecture, using audio of a JG Ballard story fed through sound visualisation software (Tomorrow Never Knows, 2004). Her video often entwines text, image and sound. Beginning with work about the Erebus Disaster (White Wall / Black Hole, 2005) and ranging from explorations of the legacy of World War Two (South Pacific, 2007) to the implications of atomic accidents (Object Permanence, 2018) these videos combine narratives based on extensive research with haunting and allusive soundtracks and ambiguous imagery.

CIRCUIT Resources

Podcast with Sean Cubitt and Mark Amery (2018)

CIRCUIT Projects

CIRCUIT Distributors Screening, Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany (2021)

Selected Exhibitions


CIRCUIT Distributors Screening, Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany

iteration 9, Mothermother, Auckland

Object Permanence, Trish Clark Gallery, Auckland
Kaleidoscope: Abstract Aotearoa, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington

Black Flags, Trish Clark Gallery, Auckland

Memory Hole, Trish Clark Gallery, Auckland

Among the Machines, Curated by Su Ballard and Aaron Kreisler, Dunedin Public Art Gallery

every room i have ever been in, The Audio Foundation, Auckland

Recontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid, Curated by Jean-François Rettig, The Pompidou Centre, Paris, France

Feedforward, Curated by Steve Dietz and Christiane Paul, LaBoral Centro De Arte Y Creación Industrial, Gijón, Spain

Made Up: The 2008 Liverpool Biennale, Curated by Mike Stubbs, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, UK 

White Wall/Black Hole, Christchurch Art Gallery
Lo<=>No Tech, Curated by Vanessa McRae, Videotage Hong Kong

Zones of Contact, Curated by Charles Merewether, 15th Biennale of Sydney, Australia 
The Walters Prize 2006, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki

Wet Social Sculpture, St Paul St Gallery, Auckland