Joe Hamilton

Australian artist Joe Hamilton uses technology, the Internet and found material to create intricate and complex compositions online, offline and somewhere inbetween. He is best known for Hyper Geography, a short film and a tumblr collage blog with 100 posts in a loop which are linked horizontally and vertically. The ikono On Air Festival will show two of his films, "Hyper Geography" and "Survey", but the work goes beyond the screens and expands on the Internet where it can be easily shared and spread around. Joe told Rhizome: "I started in April of this year and, in a way, finished in August. I am working on a script that will once a day take the last post in the loop and reblog it. Then I will leave it. Or not. I'm not sure. In selecting the images I was looking at our notion of environment and the changing and overlapping definitions of natural, built and networked environments. I gathered images that speak of these definitions and blended them together in to new compositions. An attempt to create a feeling of some type of hybrid environment, a hyper geography." Joe Hamilton describes his Tumblr with a quote: “What in the history of thought may be seen as a confusion or an overlapping is often the precise moment of the dramatic impulse.” — Raymond Williams, "Ideas of Nature," in Problems in Materialism and Culture. (London: Verso, 1980). In an interview with Hyperallergic, Hamilton said he “chose Tumblr primarily because it was where I discovered the online art work that initially inspired me. I stumbled across blogs like ‘Visual-Aids’ and other tumblelogs in the R-U-In?S network, and they instantly got my attention.” “The idea that content could and should move easily from blog to blog is the most appealing part of the platform for me,” he told In an interview with Creators Project Joe Hamilton said: “A primary aim when making my work is to assemble a composition that feels right visually. I look at things like value, color, texture, pattern, unity, etc. and just keep working until I’m happy with how it looks. The content is obviously very important too, but I tend to think about that less when I’m composing the work. I have a tendency to make my working process overly complex, which is often frustrating, but in the long term this has taught me to deal with complexity well.

Hyper Geography

Joe Hamilton - Hyper Geography The film accompanying the hyper geography blog is only one minute long and it only provides a glimpse of what Hamilton is doing with his virtual environment puzzles. Frieze Magazine described Joe Hamilton’s video Hyper Geography (2011) as “a slow-motion flight over mountains, polar seas and deserts whose contours dissolve again and again, overlaid with still images, accompanied by the sounds of wind, water and birdsong. There are surface structures and indefinable patterns or grids, superimposed on mountain ranges and ice, desert sand and canyons, merging with them to form a semi-synthetic and sublime landscape. The landscape becomes a dense, inextricable jungle of fractal patterns, visual noise, images of hands, faces, eyeballs, robots, cameras, all manner of digital gadgets, contorted architecture and, again and again, plants, leaves, grass, sky, mountains and minerals. In terms of perspective, the whole thing is so complex, so fraught with tensions, that there is no longer any outside, no beginning or end, and no horizon. The images all stand out on the surface of the screen, their various visual axes adding up to a strange mixture of smooth, all-encompassing and ornamental depth – as if Arcimboldo’s nature compositional portraits were mixed with M.C. Escher’s tessellations and Thomas Bayrle’s infinite patterns. Central perspective is displaced by a bewildering but inclusive multi-perspectivity which favours, not overview, but immersion. The only way to ‘look behind’ is by clicking on the images, only to discover others. Joe Hamilton - Trouble in Utopia Go to for more Trouble in Utopia.

Online Projects

An Illusion of Democratic Experience – for Lunch Bytes, Washington, USA
Laser Simulation – for Parallelograms
Urinal Screens – for Polar, Melbourne, Australia
Div/Contour – for Appendix Project Space, Portland, USA


Hyper Geography


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Joe Hamilton on the Internet

Joe Hamilton - Hyper Geography - Joe Hamilton - Homepage - Joe Hamilton on Tumblr - Joe Hamilton on Facebook - Joe Hamilton on Twitter - How to Make It: 15 Rules for Success From Artists on Tumblr (Image above from


- Ambient Natures by Dominikus Müller, Frieze Issue 5, Summer 2012
- Tumblr as Art by Ben Valentine, Hyperallergic, 2012
- Reframing Tumblr / Hyper Geography by Jason Huff, Rhizome, 2011
- A New Landscape For Digital Art by Julia Kaganskiy, The Creators Project, 2011
- Joe Hamilton Talks Tumblr, Hypergeography, and Digital Art,

Curators' Special

Part of the curatorial selection of Nadine Samman