2012 Next Wave Festival presents


Supported by the APHIDS Residency and Mentoring program, Goodbye, CSIRAC invites audiences to experience a retro sci-fi audio tour, leading visitors into the guts of the Melbourne Museum to uncover the true story of CSIRAC (pronounced ‘sigh-rack’), Australia’s first computer. But watch out! As the wall of lights blink and the paper tape whirrs, the forgotten female computer operators of our history may summon the mysterious Ghost of Computers Past…

In collaboration with curators and historians, Melbourne artist Zoe Meagher has delved into the museum archives to create an all-new sound and performance work. Though guided by modern MP3 players and headphones, participants will discover that the tour is precisely 50 years out of date, setting a tone of anachronism and tongue-in-cheek humour.

Stories, interviews and musical compositions illuminate the extraordinary story of CSIRAC (on display at the museum) and the female programmers, data processors and computer operators who helped make early computing possible in Australia. Ghostly live performances interrupt and intermingle with the audio, reminding us that every computer has a memory. Meagher’s fun, mish-mash style of performance and audio reflects her love of pop culture and technology. Previous work includes performance and sound for HIGH VIS DANDY in the 2010 Next Wave Festival, described by Artlink magazine as exemplifying “much of the best art interventions of the festival.”

A love letter to 1960s computing and sci-fi, Goodbye, CSIRAC commemorates the things – and people – we forget when technologies become obsolete.


Project director, sound designer, performer – Zoe Meagher
Production support – The Rubix Cube

Supported by Aphids Supermassive Program

Next Wave Festival, Melbourne Museum
21st – 27th May

Images Zoe Meagher & Matthew Kneale

APHIDS acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and Boon wurrung peoples on whose lands we live and work. Sovereignty was never ceded and we pay our respect to past, present, and future Aboriginal elders and community, and to their long and rich history of artmaking on this Country.