Jennifer Mills and Sean Williams talk to Sonja Dechian

Producer Sonja Dechian followed writers Jennifer Mills and Sean Williams for the duration of  The Subjects. Listen to the podcast here:

Professor Drew Dawson with Margaret Throsby on ABC Classic FM

Scientist Professor Drew Dawson spoke to Margaret Throsby about fatigue and The Subjects. Listen to the podcast here:

Final Images :: Thom Buchanan




Choose your own adventure :: Thom

I didn’t really know what to expect before going in. Even asking questions they didn’t give me any responses which I think was good in some ways because it makes it a more unique situation if you don’t know the outcomes or process. And I guess that helps to create the unknown of the experiment in its participants. (more…)

Chess Game :: Thom

The game begins and I set up my box of materials in the enclosure hoping I could tap into what I was being asked to do, in order to create things. “Have a nap u will need it” I was told, little did I know the fun was about to begin and there was 2 Kings and 2 Queens or maybe we were all just pawns. So I started making drawings, just really simple stuff, tracing parameters of shapes that looked liked aerial maps of space.

Thom Buchanan

Surveillance :: Thom

Big brother is watching you. Small cameras in the shape of bubbles on the roof watched our every move 24 hours a day with the exception of the bathroom. The panopticon is complete. Lab rats are ready.

Thom Buchanan

On the outside :: Thom

Going into the experiment I was aware that I was going to have to leave early due to outside commitments for the Fringe. The other subjects were unaware of this until the moment that I left, and I felt a sense of guilt that I was leaving earlier and leaving them behind. (more…)

Aftermath :: Fee :: the photos are online

// i have also posted a slightly edited version of this on my own blog at //

if Sean, Jen, Thom & I were in a band, it’d be called “theSubjects” and this would be our (badly focused) album cover.

if Sean, Jen, Thom & I were in a band, it’d be called “theSubjects” and this would be our (badly focused) album cover.

I’ve just uploaded a whole bunch of the photos I took during #TheSubjects. I sent some of them through to ANAT be uploaded while I was ‘inside’ but they didn’t seem to make it onto the blog, sadly. I’ve been meaning to fix this since I realised they were missing when we ‘got out’ but, well, a few things have held me back.

The first was that I was a lot more affected by this experience than I expected to be and it has taken me a hell of a lot longer to recover than I anticipated. The second is that I live in a bus that hasn’t yet been modified internally and only recently got a solar rig to enable any kind of electricity at all, and all that is still taking a bit of getting used to. The third is that (apart from a little bit of downtime needed for point1) I pretty much had to get straight on with the next project on the schedule, hAbitAt (which happens this Monday in Canberra) so I’ve been a bit distracted. And the fourth is that for the most part my internet access is a shitty little 4G system – yes, basically like trying to run a geek business via mobile phone data tethering, which especially sucks (and costs) when you want to upload a bunch of photos that are around 5MB each. Sigh.

Anyway, thanks to borrowed wifi (ta Pia) and a much better head… you can now see the photos on my Flickr account (I’ll publish my summary post here too soon). Oh and for the record, all photos were taken in EXTREME low-light levels and have been purposefully untouched in post by me. They’re subsequently often extremely unfocused (sometimes intentionally so). The idea is that eventually we’ll make a collaborative work and an exhibition based on what we made while ‘inside’, the affect those experiences have had on us following the residency and the data the scientists gathered from all the tests & surveillance footage (and whatever we decide to do with that).

I’m flying to Adelaide in a few hours to join the band (the first time all four of us have come back together) to talk about our experience at Adelaide Festival’s Writers’ Week (in a panel wonderfully titled “THE SUBJECTS: STORYTELLING IN EXTREME ENVIRONMENTS” – I love how they shout it, seems highly appropriate). You can follow the panel event chats today from 1.15pm on twitter via #AdlWW. The session is being introduced by Vicki Sowry (Director ANAT – the troublemaker behind all this!) and chaired by Professor Drew Dawson from The Appleton Institute – who hosted the residency).

While I’m at it, I just discovered today that if you click on our names in the above event info, the lovely Laura Kroetsch (Director, Adelaide Writers’ Week) has done a video intro about each of us. I can’t seem to embed these below so I have linked to them because I think they’re really cute. Find out more about my fellow subjects via these clips then read our blog entries here to see what it did to our heads.

Sean (@adelaidesean

Jen (@millsjenjen

Thom (@scribblemoth

and me (@feesable



As promised, i’ve uploaded all the drawings i made while in the lab, in the order in which i made them. WordPress won’t let me embed a flickr slideshow, so it’s here. Or you can view the set on flickr.

The Subjects at Adelaide Writers Week

After a week inside the CQU Appleton Institute, we’ve released The Subjects into the real world. They blinked in the sunlight, ate some chocolate and then scurried away and back to their real lives – or did they? You can find out how The Subjects have been readjusting to daylight and normal hours at their panel discussion at Adelaide Writers Week.

Professor Drew Dawson, Director of the CQU Appleton Institute, joins The Subjects to talk about  ANAT’s fascinating week-long experiment into the impact an extreme environment and sleep deprivation has on creativity.

When:     1.15pm Wednesday 6 March 2013 

Where:   West Stage, Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden, Adelaide

Highlights from this session will be tweeted live by SA’s prolific arts and cultural tweeters.  Search for #AdlWW on Twitter to follow the conversation.

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