Interdisciplinary artist awarded Monash University’s highest academic honour for PhD research

L-R; Professor Shane Murray Dean Art, Design and Architecture, Mollie Holman Medal winner David Chesworth, Dr Fiona Macdonald and Dr Spiros Panigirakis

Monash University lecturer in sound studies and PhD laureate David Chesworth has been awarded the Mollie Holman Medal for thesis excellence.

Chesworth received the medal for his thesis: “Why All The Noise? An exploration of auditory and durational encounters of four artworks at Dia:Beacon, New York State, USA; how these artworks and my practical research function as machinic systems of cinematic thought.”

The Medal is one of the highest academic honours that Monash University bestows and marks the recipient as a researcher of the highest order. Each year, a maximum of ten medals are awarded to doctoral students, who have presented their faculty’s best thesis of the year.

“It’s been a tough but stimulating four years and having the time to focus on my research has been invaluable,” said Chesworth.

“My PhD research explores how experiences of sound and duration enable insights that are not readily available through visual and spatial modalities,” said Chesworth.

Undertaking a PhD tests your resolve, but at the end of the day, I was driven to contribute new knowledge and ways of thinking about art through the field of sound studies.

Chesworth is a renowned interdisciplinary artist who has created artworks with Sonia Leber that have been exhibited in the Venice and Sydney Biennales. He is also a composer who is well-known globally for his experimental and, at times, minimalist music.

A large part of his research was presented in his 2017 examination exhibition, David Chesworth, The Long Take - a practical component of his doctoral thesis.

Chesworth states that the exhibition The Long Take is best thought of as a composition made from component artworks.

“The exhibition was created as a tool to research spatial and durational framings like those I encountered within four artists’ artworks at Dia:Beacon (Gerhard Richter, Robert Smithson, Robert Ryman and Max Neuhaus).”

Chesworth’s PhD thesis was supervised by Dr Fiona Macdonald and Dr Spiros Panigirakis from Monash University’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture.

The Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal was named after the late pioneering physiologist, Emeritus Professor Mollie Holman AO in honour of her significant contributions to science and education.

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