Visions: A forum on the contemporary art, science and politics of seeing

15–17 August 2024

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

“Visions” proposes a new way of looking at looking. Over the course of three days, this public forum will bring together a group of experts to share their thoughts on the art, science and politics of vision. How do scientists and engineers understand vision today? What is its history? And what utopian or dystopian visual futures lie ahead? 
      This forum is co-presented by the Power Institute, Foundation for Art and Visual Culture at the University of Sydney, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

Buy day 1 passBuy day 2 passBuy day 3 pass

Speakers

DAY 1
THURSDAY, 15 AUGUST 2024

10:30am–11:00am
INTRODUCTION: WHAT IS VISION?
Mark Ledbury (Director, Power Institute) and Suzanne Cotter (Director, MCA Australia)

11:00am–12:30pm
SESSION 1: ART, SCIENCE AND VISION
Anina Rich, Trevor Paglen, Mark Ledbury (moderator)

This panel will explore the ways vision works, using insights from scientists active in exploring issues such as perception, attention and colour – and how insights from science and art intersect. The panel will hear from experts on colour and perception, but also from artistic engagements with surveillance and the conditions of seeing.


2:00pm–3:30pm
SESSION 2: SEEING RHETORICS AND VISUALISING IDEAS
Ben Grosser, Kylie Boltin, Marni Williams (moderator)

What does it mean to ‘see’ a virus spreading? What would social media look like without metrics? This panel stares back at our screens and explores the new ways artistic practices, interface design and multimodal forms of communication are helping different publics to understand complex ideas.‍


4:30pm–6:00pm
VISION STATEMENT: HUEY COPELAND

Buy day 1 pass

DAY 2
FRIDAY, 16 AUGUST 2024

10:30am–12:00pm

SESSION 3: VISUAL SUBJECTS
Erin Vink, Huey Copeland, J. Joon Lee, Katerina Teaiwa, Nick Croggon (moderator)

This panel considers vision as a mode of power. How does vision shape subjectivity and the social world today? What alternative or disruptive visual practices are possible?


2:00pm–3:30pm
SESSION 4: SEEING THROUGH OCEANS: NAVIGATING A NETWORK OF TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER IDENTITIES
Aaliyah-Jade Bradbury, Christopher Bassi, Peggy Kasabad Lane, Rebecca Ray (moderator)

What are the ways of seeing particular to the Indigenous people of the Torres Strait Islands? It is a way of seeing that is conditioned by the islands, sky, winds and sea, and a way of knowing that has performed important interventions in Australia’s political histories – such as the landmark 1992 Mabo decision. It is also a diasporic way of seeing: a network of relations that stretches across the Australian mainland continent, connecting Torres Strait Islander people both to each other and to home and, in turn, forms a unique sense of belonging and cultural identity.


4:30pm–6:00pm
VISION STATEMENT: TREVOR PAGLEN “YOU’VE JUST BEEN F****D BY PSYOPS: HOW MIND CONTROL, UFOS, MAGIC, AND ELECTRONIC WARFARE EXPLAIN THE FUTURE OF AI AND MEDIA”

With AI-generated content, social media influence operations, micro-targeted advertising, and ubiquitous surveillance becoming the norm, we have entered an era of PSYOP capitalism. This era is characterized by fabricated hallucinations and manipulations intended to influence our senses, perceptions, and beliefs. This talk delves into the history of secret military, intelligence, and technology programs that have paved the way for our increasingly strange present.

Buy day 2 pass

DAY 3
SATURDAY, 17 AUGUST 2024

10:30am–12:00pm
SESSION 5: PICTURING WORLD FUTURES
Dennis del Favero, Jennifer Deger, Katrina Sluis, Terry Smith (moderator)

World picturing is the universal practice of creating imaginative, insightful, accurate, and useable understandings of past, present, and future worlds, initiated in ancient times and ongoing to this day. World pictures condense complex phenomena into comprehensible configurations, usually through concepts, textual description or visual images, but also through projective planning, managed environments, computational processes, artworks and soundscapes. From the Feral Atlas to an Atlas of AI, this panel will explore the affordances of world picturing for addressing the challenges facing our near and further futures.


1:30–3:00pm
VISION STATEMENT: KATE CRAWFORD

3:30pm–4:30pm
FINAL WORDS

Buy day 3 pass

More Information

TICKETS
The forum will take place at the MCA Australia. We will not be live-streaming. Purchase a day pass to secure your spot.

QUESTIONS
If you have any questions about the forum, please email powerinstitute.events@sydney.edu.au

VENUE
All events will take place at the MCA's Veolia Lecture Theatre. More information about how to get to the MCA can be found here and more information about accessibility can be found here.

BURSARIES
More information about bursaries coming soon.