Centro de Ciencias de Benasque Pedro Pascual

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Art and Science: exploring the limits of human perception

2009, Jul 12 -- Jul 17

A. Nieto (Inst. Neurociencias, Alicante)
Luis M. Martínez (Inst. Neurociencias, Alicante)
S. Martínez-Conde (Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix)
Torsten N. Wiesel (The Rockefeller University, New York)

Pourpose of the meeting

The symposium “Art and Science: Exploring the limits of human perception” wants to be a forum for artists and scientists who have common interests. The program consists of a series of public conversations between artists and scientists with the purpose of bringing together these seemingly disparate, but we feel intimately related, fields. The format of the symposium gravitates around paired special lectures by an artist and a scientist on their practice, followed by an open discussion exploring the nature of the relationship between their fields. We strongly believe that activities such as this symposium should help to raise awareness about the importance of the research in these topics and also about the specific contributions of the artists to science and vice versa. Finally, we intend that this gathering serves as the perfect setting to foster future collaborations between artists and scientists that would thus benefit from each other’s contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying human perception.

Organizing Committee

      Luis M. Martinez, PhD (Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante, SPAIN)
      Susana Martinez-Conde, PhD (Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ, USA)
      M. Angela Nieto, PhD (Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante, SPAIN)
      Torsten N. Wiesel, MD (The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA)

Remedios frontiers


July 12 (Sunday)

- Shuttle from Barcelona to Benasque.

July 13 (Monday)

         09:00 - 11:00 - The visual science of visual arts
         LM Martinez (Institituto de Neurociencias, Alicante) , Din Matamoro (Painter. Vigo, Spain).

         11:30 - 13:00 - Contributed talks

                   11:30 O.1 Quantification of artistic style through sparse coding analysis. J Hughes, DJ Graham & DN                   Rockmore. (Dartmouth College. Hanover, NH, USA).

                  11:50 O.2 Aikon-2. A multidisciplinary investigation into sketching. FF Leymarie & P Tresset. (University of                   London. London, UK).

                  12:10 O.3 Computational Aesthetics. Measuring and modeling aesthetic perception. C Wallraven (Max                   Planck Institute for Bilogical Cybernetics), M Feixas, J Rigau & M Sbert (University of Girona .                   Girona, Spain).

                  12:30 O.4 Dali paintings as a tool for assessing altered size perception in schizophrenic patients. MLB                   Simas, GMN Menezes, RMTBL Nogueira, AM Lacerda, NA Santos & VF Amaral. Universidade F ederal                   de Pernambuco & Universidade Federal de Paraíba. Pernambuco, Brasil.

         13:00 - 16:00 - Lunch

         16:00 - 18:30 - Virtual reality
         Mel Slater & Mavi Sánchez-Vives (ICREA-Universidad de Barcelona & ICREA-IDIBAPS, Barcelona, Spain) /          Nonny de la Peña (Transmedia producer and journalist, Los Angeles, USA) & Peggy Weil (Digital media artist          and designer, - USC-SCA Interactive Media Division. Los Angeles, USA)

         18:30 - 18:50 - Contributed Talks

                  18:30 O.5 Robotic Art: Perceiving and inventing reality. F. Ghedini & M.Bergamasco. Scuola Superiore                   Sant'Anna. Pisa, Italy.

         18:50 - 19:30 - Visiting Scientific Posters and Artistic Displays.

                  P.1 How do we gaze Art? Influence of knowledge and artistic value. J Binnie, S Dudley, D Barrie & RQ                   Quiroga. The Art Fund & University of Leicester. Leicester, UK.

                  P.2 What is an elephant? F Halper. Harvard University. Cambridge, MA, USA.

                  P.3 Science via Art: Induced emotions by the music and painting. O de Juan, P Montoya, JJ Campos                   Bueno & N Birbaumer. Conservatorio de Música de Alicante, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Universidad                   Complutense & Eberhard Karls Universitãt Tubingen.

                  P.4 Fractal processing in the brain. A proposal. A Perez-Castellanos & LM Martinez. Instituto de                   Neurociencias de Alicante. Alicante, Spain.

                  P.5 Deconstructing Mona Lisa's smile. How symmetry, spatial frequency and luminance influence ou r                   perception of complex visual images. D Alonso-Pablos, A Perez-Castellanos, J Marquez-Bugella,M                   Molano Mazon, J Martinez, RQ Quiroga & LM Martinez. Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante &                   University of Leicester.

                  P.6 Statistical analyses of colour information of paintings. A Fukumoto, K Tsukada & J Kurumisaw a.                   Chiba University & Ochanomizu University. Japan.

                  P.7 Sleep/Wake. S Trubridge & P Gander. Massey University. Wellington, New Zealand.

                  P.8 Pictures. A. Aranda. London, UK.

                  P.9 Paintings. MA Martin Pascual. Instituto de RTVE. Universitat de Barcelona. Barcelona, Spain.

                  P.10 Virtual reality in the extreme: experiencing and understanding violence. N. de la Peña, P. Weil, M.                   Stater & MV Sanchez-Vives. USC-SCA Interactive Media Division. Los Angeles, USA; ICREA-Universidad                   de Barcelona & ICREA- IDIBAPS, Barcelona, Spain.

                  P.11 The anatomy of passion: the creation of sound. F de la Rocque, A Azambuja, NR Carneiro, C                   Hedin-Pereira & MM Froes. Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

         - Dinner

         21:00 - 23:00 - Consciousness: Filtering reality
         Susana Martinez-Conde & Steve Maknick (Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix), Miguel Angel Gea          (Magician, Madrid) (Includes demonstration/workshop).

July 14 (Tuesday)

         - Morning
          Official inauguration of the new building of the 'Centro de Ciencias de Banasque, Pedro Pascual' by Spanish          political and scientific authorities. Includes the short talk 'Seduced by Science: An Enduring Passion' by          Nobel laureate Prof. Torsten N. Wiesel (The Rockefeller University. New York, USA).

         18:00 - 20:00 - Food for thought: not just a matter of taste
         Charles Spencer (Oxford University. Oxford, UK), María Jose San Román (chef, Monastrell Restaurant.          Alicante, Spain).

         20:00 - Wine Tasting workshop: Depriving senses
         Jose Ignacio Latorre (U. Barcelona).

July 15 (Wednesday)

         09:00 - 11:00 - Music: more than meets the ears
         Paul Verschure (ICREA, Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Barcelona, Spain), Octavio de Juan (Musician. Alicante,          Spain).

         11:00 - 12:00 - Contributed talks

                  11:00 O.8 The anatomy of passion: the creation of sound. F de la Rocque, A Azambuja, NR Carneiro, C                   Hedin-Pereira & MM Froes. Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro, Br asil.

                  11:20 O.9 Exploring artistic possibility of fusing music and painting. A Fukumoto, K Tsukada & J                   Kurumisawa. Chiba University & Ochanomizu University. Japan.

                  11:40 O.10 Brushes and sounds. L Mususa-Wiesel (Painter. New York, USA).

         12:00 - 14:00 - Perceiving Art vs. Perceiving Science
         Rodrigo Quian Quiroga (Leicester University. Leicester, UK), Marcos Pérez (Casa de las Ciencias Scientific          Director. Museos Cientificos Coruñeses. A Coruña, Spain).

         12:00 - 16:00 - Lunch

         16:00-19:00 - Parallellepipeda

         Wendy Morris, Géry d'dewalle, Ruth Loos, Dorothee Augustin, Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven, Johan Wagemans &          Edith Doove. (University of Leuven, the Institute for Research in the Arts (IvOK), and the city museum of          Leuven (M), Belgium).

         19:00 - 19:30 - Visiting Scientific Posters and Artistic Displays.

         - Dinner

         21:00 - 23:00 - Choice blindness
         Lars Hall and Petter Johansson (Lund University Cognitive Science. Lund, Sweden).

July 16 (Thursday)

         09:00 - 11:00 - Kagai: creating and perceiving visual space
         Peter Thompson (York University. York, UK), Benedetta Tagliabue (Architect. EMBT Barcelona, Spain).

         11:00 - 11:40 - Contributed talks

                  11:00 O.6 An ambition for symmetry-breaking: the floating laboratory. S Hughes (University of Exeter) & D                   Robinson (University of Plymouth, UK).

                  11:20 O.7 The permanent resistance: the hidden agendas of activist art. D Petrova. (Edinburgh College of                   Art. Edinburgh, UK).

         12:00 - 14:00 - Sleep/Wake (special simposium)
         Sam Trubridge & Phillipa Gander (Massey University. Wellington, New Zealand).

         14:00 - 16:00 - Lunch

         17:00-18:00 – Visiting Scientific Posters and Artistic Displays.

         19:30 - Art and Science Closing Lecture
         By Semir Zeki (University College London. London, UK).

         21:00 - Banquet dinner

July 17 (Friday)

         - Shuttle to Barcelona.

Note: Participants are encouraged to present panels and propose short oral presentations

Participants Contributions

The organization encourages artists participating in this workshop to bring their creations and present them to all of us. Although no financial support is offered, the Center will try to help those artists willing to share their work. If you are interested in bringing your work and share it with us, please send us a message at benasque@ecm.ub.es as detailed as possible.


The registration fee for the conference is 50 euros to be paid to the account of the Centro de Ciencias de Benasque Pedro Pascual after your application has been accepted.
Ibercaja: 2085 2310 3803 3004 4193
IBAN:ES44 2085 2310 3803 3004 4193

Further Information.

This session has received financial support from the following institutions:

  • logo CSIC
  • Ministerio de educación y ciencia
  • Ayuntamiento de Benasque
  • Gobierno de Aragón
  • Universidad de Zaragoza
  • Fundación BBVA


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