Submitted by Anita Glesta

Client: The Big Anxiety Festival

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Completion date: 2022

Artwork budget: $35,000

Project Team

commissioner of work

UNSW School of Art, Architecture and Design


Federation Square, Melbourne


UNNERVED projected on the face of the ACMI (Australian Center for the Moving Image) in Oct 2022 as part of the “Big Anxiety Festival”. It was also shown in the atrium of the Federation Square building at the same site.
My most recent work UNNERVED is a series about the inner workings of the body, an exploration of my own system and a symbolic gesture towards the universality of our humanity The laureate fellowship award came at an especially auspicious time—during the Covid global epidemic, adding to my heightened awareness of the mind-body continuum.
UNNERVED is an animation of lively hand drawn imagery and sound, that shows this trajectory of the vagus nerve and invites the viewer to experience both the stressed “sympathetic” state and later guiding the viewer to experience a more relaxed parasympathetic state
A quick few seconds of the animation shows a moment that is yet a minuscule example of how our brains rock and roll with a myriad of thoughts and feelings.
The colorful moving imagery interacted with the hardscape of the building and the plaza and provided a mesmerizing experience that was transformational in this kind of public space.


Public art has been paramount to my vision, connecting the community through interactive engaging works. All of my work aims to subvert and catalyze different ways to think about our shared humanity in a historic and contemporary context. I integrate these concerns by inviting the viewer to look and to engage with their entire physical and psychological selves. Fed Square being the gateway to the art precinct- and as Melbourne's public square it is the civic, cultural and community heart of the city. The presentation of UNNERVED on the face of the Australian Center for the Moving Image made it possible for the artwork to reach up to 10,000 people a day


My particular interest is more the physiological, neuroscience, the enigma about what researchers seem to be learning about the trajectory of the brain to the gut and the heart. There are many gaps in knowledge and a lot of them have to do with the very fine-line distinction between what is inherited and how our bodies respond to this. I am not a doctor so my role in all of this as an artist has been , and is, to surface these issues through creating a visual language For UNNERVED, that visual language consists of hand painted ink drawings transformed into stop motion animation alongside borrowed and altered medical imagery (such as neurons), all set to an analogue audio track I composed and recorded with my assistant. My work is able to turn realistic images into something more painterly and fluid, a reflection of the body and its inner systems. I am pleased to bring hand drawn images into the digital space and intersect with the hardscape of architecture.