The collaborative crafting of Motherboard with Vicky Browne and Simon Reece

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This episode is an interview with artists Vicky Browne and Simon Reece about their innovative work, "Motherboard." Merging ceramics with technology, this piece invites viewers to experience interactive sculptures that emit varying tonal frequencies as they hold the objects. The piece was developed for a show called “Underground” that was held at the Blue Mountains Cultural centre from late 2023 to early 2024.   

Vicky Browne, an interdisciplinary artist with a background in sculpture, and Simon Reece, a ceramic artist, both hail from the Blue Mountains, Australia.  The interview explores the audience’s response to the interaction, and the process of developing the piece and the importance of collaboration in their practice. 

Listen to this podcast to learn about

  • How "Motherboard" engages viewers, creating a deeper connection with the artwork through tactile interaction.
  • The concept of "Ma," the Japanese idea of the space in-between is a useful frame of mind for thinking about collaborations.    
  • Materiality, technology, and their interconnectedness.
  • The journey of "Motherboard," from concept to reality, emphasising the role of dialogue, experimentation, and overcoming practical and conceptual challenges

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  • (0:02:04) Vicky describes the physicality of Motherboard and its interactive nature.
  • (0:03:01) People at the exhibition interacted with the sculpture, creating nonverbal communication.
  • (0:00:01) Simon discusses the importance of allowing space for creativity.
  • (0:06:09) The importance of tactile response and the freedom to touch ceramics in the artwork.
  • (0:07:00) Vicky and Simon’s focus on materiality and problem-solving in their collaborative process.
  • (0:09:22) The unique aesthetic and combined strengths that arise from their collaboration.
  • (0:12:40) Playing and problem-solving
  • (0:13:12) Collaboration allows for new and unexpected work
  • (0:14:29) Collaboration leads to making things they wouldn’t normally produce
  • (0:15:27) Learning from each other’s different approaches
  • (0:18:19) Technology embedded in our lives and materials
  • (0:19:19) Greater respect for materials through technology
  • (0:19:56) Exploring the interconnectedness of technology and materials
  • (0:22:44) Allowing space for collaboration and being open to different ideas
  • (0:23:52) Leaving ego at the door and effective communication
  • (0:24:11) Simon and Vicky discuss their collaborative process without an agenda.

About Vicky Browne

Vicky Browne, an interdisciplinary mixed media artist from the Blue Mountains, NSW, completed her Master of Visual Art at Sydney College of the Arts in 2010. Her extensive exhibition history includes showcases at renowned venues like Artspace Sydney, Artspace Auckland, and Dunedin Public Art Gallery in New Zealand. Browne's participation in institutional group exhibitions, such as Living in the Ruins of the Twentieth Century at UTS Gallery and Sound Full at City Gallery Wellington, has bolstered her standing in the contemporary art sphere. Notable achievements include winning the 2013 Fauvette Loureiro Memorial Artists’ Travel Scholarship Prize. Browne's recent solo exhibition, Work/Play at Blue Mountains City Gallery in 2022, underscores her exploration of mixed media and interdisciplinary art, establishing her as a leading figure in Australian art.

About Simon Reece

Simon Reece is a distinguished ceramic artist celebrated for his expertise and inventive approach to ceramics. Trained at The National Art School, he delved into ceramics in the early 1980s, refining his craft under expert tutelage. A pivotal moment came in 1985 when Reece journeyed to Japan, immersing himself in wood firing ceramics under master Uneo Norihide's guidance in Bizen. This transformative experience shaped Reece's unique aesthetic and profound understanding of ceramic art. Back in Australia, he became a journeyman potter, collaborating with peers and constructing wood kilns. Reece's diverse portfolio spans tableware for top chefs, environmental sculptures, and global workshops, solidifying his influence in contemporary ceramics.  

Takeaways from this interview with Vicky Browne and Simon Reece


"Motherboard" is a series of interactive sculptures that combine ceramics and technology. The main sculpture is a metallic-looking ceramic rock surrounded by smaller rocks. When a participant picks up one of the smaller rocks or approaches the main rock, the volume and tonal frequencies change, creating an interactive and immersive experience.

Interaction and non-verbal communication

It’s almost like they enact the sculpture like a sort of, I guess, like a band or something like that when they’re playing, you know, off each other.  - Vicky Browne  

Essence of collaboration

Our practice is quite distinct from each other, but so we’re sort of doing something new when we come together. And I think that’s the strength of the collaboration. - Vicky Browne   

It’s allowing that space for stuff to happen. I mean, it’s almost. Isn’t it like with the Japanese, with Ma, where it’s almost like the space in between, and you’re sort of like, if you sort of squish stuff up and there’s no space in between, then it’s really hard to sort of get stuff happening. So it just can’t be tight. - Simon Reece

Technology  and material 

It ... is a reflection on how technology, more and more, is ... embedded into materials. - Vicky Browne 

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