Matthew Gardiner

Dr Matthew Gardiner, Australian Artist and Researcher

Dr Matthew Gardiner is an artist most well known for his work with origami and robotics. He coined the term Oribot 折りボト and then created Oribotics, a field of art/science research that thrives on the aesthetic, biomechanic, and morphological connections between nature, origami and robotics. Gardiner holds a position as an artist and key researcher at the Ars Electronica Futurelab in Linz, Austria, where the philosophy of art, society and technology intersect.

As an artist, Gardiner works with origami and robotics: Oribotics. The work arises from considering folded forms, their kinetic properties and electromechanical methods of actuation, sensing, interactions and luminous display. In 2003 Gardiner coined the terms Oribot and Oribotics, to define the emergent field of folding, robotics and technology, and has produced the following works with premieres: Oribotics 2004 at Next Wave Festival, Oribotics [laboratory] 2005 at Asialink Center, Oribotics [network] 2007 at the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Oribotics [de] 2008 at Künstlerdorf Schöppingen, Oribotics [house of dreaming] 2009 for Arena Theatre Company, Oribotics [the future unfolds] 2010 for Ars Electronica Festival and Tokyo Design Touch, 2020 Oribotics [clima] at Centro de Ciencias de Sinaloa (Science Center of Sinaloa).

Gardiner wields a diverse skill set with expertise in digital and traditional techniques. An autodidact with high level artistic conceptual skills, focusing on artefact products. Capabilities extending design domains of photography, videography, experience design, electronics (PCB and system design), software and programming (c, c++, python, PHP, js, bash, web admin, apache/MySQL/sockets), 3D CAD (Solidworks, rhino, grasshopper, blender, including python scripting). Capable of establishing and leading a team within an art-science research-based framework with a focus on digital fabrication, generative geometry, and material experimentation. Also, a ninja-level origami artist and designer. Recent works focus on the role of art and design in engineering and scientific kits designed to build competence and curiosity in oribotics.

Key Grants / Awards / Education

1997 Bachelor of Fine Art Photography, Victorian College of the Arts
2005 Visual Arts Board Tokyo Studio Residency
2009 Visual Arts Board New Work Grant
2009 Rupert Bunny Fellowship
2010 Australia Council Residency at Ars Electronica
2011 Employed by the Ars Electronica Futurelab Research and Innovation Group
2014 FWF PEEK Art Science Grant: ORI* on the language of folding and technology
2019 PhD in Fine Art. University of Newcastle
2020 FWF PEEK Art Science Grant: ORI* on the art and science of origami and robotics

Key Exhibitions
2021 Oribotics [clima], Centro de Ciencias de Sinaloa, Mexico
2020 oribokit® art science robotic origami kit
2019 Oribotics [the future unfolds], Science Center Singapore
2017 The Folded Geometry of the Universe, Experimenta Make Sense, RMIT, Melbourne
2016 ORI* coding for matter, Kyoto Design Institute, Kyoto, Japan
2014 Oribotics [the future unfolds], Surface to Structure, Cooper Union, New York City
2012 Oribotics [the future unfolds], Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Switzerland
2013 Light is Time, Folds Are Space, Alhôndiga Bilbao, Spain
2013 Project Genesis, (as lead curator) Ars Electronica Centre, Linz, Austria2009 RadioBots, Shepparton Art Gallery
2008 Oribotics [dublin], ArtBots, Science Gallery, Dublin
2007 Oribotics [network], Melbourne International Arts Festival, Federation Square, Melbourne
2005 Oribotics [laboratory], Asialink Centre, Melbourne University
2004 Oribotics, Electrofringe, Newcastle Regional Gallery, Newcastle


Author of best-selling Everything Origami and Designer Origami.

See Dr Gardiner's academic research here:, here: and here:

Gardiner's other works include Origami House 2003: one square kilometre of paper folded into a full-size house with the Melbourne Origami Group, 1001 Cranes: 7000 paper cranes installed in the shape of a three-story high Gingko bonsai, and Radiobots a radio-based percussive instrument for performance on architecture. From 2005-2006 he starred as a television presenter on ABC Sunday Arts, teaching the art of origami. He is the author of Everything Origami, a best selling general origami book and collaboration with Australia's leading origami artists. He is the publisher and editor of Folding Australia 2005 and Folding Australia 2007.

Gardiner curated a major exhibition Project Genesis on the topic of Synthetic Biology for the Ars Electronica Centre. He was awarded a three year PEEK grant from the Austrian Science Fund FWF for his research into the topic of ORI* on the aesthetics and language of folding and technology. The University of Newcastle awarded Gardiner his PhD, Australia for his thesis titled ORI*.

Gardiner has been the recipient of grants and awards from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), the Australia Council for the Arts, The City of Port Phillip Rupert Bunny Fellowship, Arts Victoria (Arts Innovation Board), Australian Network for Art and Technology, and a graduate award from the Victorian College of the arts. He has been a resident artist at the Ars Electronica Futurelab, Künstlerdorf Schöppingen, Australia Council Studio in Takadanobaba Tokyo, PICA, Federation Square, Origami House Tokyo, and the Digital Artist@Latrobe Regional Gallery.

Gardiner graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts, Fine Art Photography and subsequently mentored by artists Patricia Piccinini and Peter Hennessey at Drome in Melbourne. He began folding paper at the age of eight, and around the same time, he was given an Apple IIe by his father to learn how to code.

Matthew Gardiner

We acknowledge the Wuthaurong people 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.

Stuff you can buy from Matthew Gardiner