VSAC 2017

The Visual Science of Art Conference 2017

25–27 August 2017 | Berlin, Germany
Organized by Claus-Christian Carbon (U Bamberg) & Joerg Fingerhut (HU Berlin)

Conference Proceedings

Connecting Art and Science!

The Visual Science of Art Conference (VSAC) was established in 2012 by Professor Baingio Pinna in Alghero/Italy. Its main focus is to better connect the communities of visual scientists and artists in order to deepen our understanding of aesthetic phenomena. The VSAC is an ideal venue to debate and collaborate on all topics associated with the perception and evaluation of artworks.

From its beginnings the VSAC has been organized as a satellite conference of the ECVP (European Conference on Visual Perception), the leading European conference on visual science.

VSAC and its sister conference ECVP have been hosted each year in different, vibrant cities all over Europe. Starting in 2012 in Alghero/Italy, subsequent meetings were organized in Belgrade/Serbia (2014), Liverpool/UK (2015) and Barcelona/Spain (2016).

Please, spread the word: download the flyer, share us on Facebook, , and Linkedin.

The story goes on...

The fifth installment of the VSAC (Visual Science of Art Conference) will be held in Berlin, Germany. Organized again as a satellite conference to the visual planet ECVP (European Conference on Visual Perception), the VSAC invites all people that connect visual perception and the arts (e.g., empirical, experimental, philosophical, phenomenological, computational approaches). Come to the center of Berlin, be part of the VSAC & enjoy three great days together with scientists, artists and with people who are fascinated by aesthetic phenomena.

Yours CCC & Joerg Fingerhut

Conference highlights

The abstracts will be published later on in the renowned journal Art & Perception

Three days of program

  • Workshop on aesthetic experience
  • Meetings with international artists
  • Highlights of the conference will be “visually protocolled” by a comic artist

Different types of symposia

  • Controversial symposium
  • Moderated symposium
  • Regular symposia

Extended as well as late-night poster sessions

With time to chat, time to eat and drink … and to chill out

Conference Memories

©Sebastian Loersche, Christian Nappert, CCC, Christiane Bröcker, Gina Eickers

Friday, 25 August 2017

12:00 assignment_ind Registration
13:15 Opening remarks
13:20 desktop_windows Talk session #1
Seeing as image thinking
chair: Johan Wagemans

Session comic
14:30 local_cafe Coffee
15:00 desktop_windows Talk session #2
How universal are aesthetics?
chair: Andrea van Doorn & Jan Koenderink

Session comic
16:30 local_cafe Coffee
17:00 star Keynote "Art and Wonder" by Jesse Prinz

Keynote comic
18:30 local_cafe Dinner
19:00 library_books Poster session #1

Session comic

Saturday, 26 August 2017

9:30 desktop_windows Talk session #3
Space of the mind's eye
chair: Nicholas Wade
11:00 local_cafe Coffee
11:30 desktop_windows Talk session #4
Physiology & art
chair: Nicola Bruno
13:00 local_cafe Smart lunch and coffee
13:30 library_books Poster session #2

Session comic
15:00 desktop_windows Talk session #5
Mixed session
chair: Robert Pepperell

Session comic
17:00 local_cafe Coffee
17:30 star Keynote "Aesthetics and the Brain" by Irving Biedermann

Keynote comic
20:30 color_lens VSAC Art Night at ACUD

Sunday, 27 August 2017

9:45 local_cafe Coffee
10:00 Business Meeting
10:30 desktop_windows Talk session #6
Principal properties
chair: Marco Bertamini
12:00 Closing remarks

Keynote Speakers

Jesse Prinz

Jesse Prinz

Einstein Visiting Fellow, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York

Jesse Prinz is the Einstein Visiting Fellow 2015-2017 at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Prinz is interested in how philosophical accounts of the mental can be informed by findings from psychology, the neurosciences, anthropology, and related fields. His research interests include emotion, consciousness, cultural cognition, concepts, perception, moral psychology, and aesthetics. His book on art and aesthetics, Works of Wonder, is forthcoming 2017. Much of his work is a continuation of the classical empiricist tradition, which emphasizes the role of perceptual experience and socialization in grounding our cognitive capacities. For more information consult his personal website.

Keynote "Art and Wonder"

It is often presumed that the appreciation of art involves emotion, but there has been little effort to identify what emotion could play this role. Traditionally, good art was said to induce pleasure, but that seems unlikely in cases where we appreciate art with dark themes. Other authors have posited an “aesthetic emotion” but that proposal is evades the question rather than answering it. Here an alternative is suggested: the cardinal emotion underling art appreciation is wonder. Both empirical and theoretical work are brought to bear in defense of this hypothesis. Wonder is also shown to provide promising accounts of aesthetic experience, beauty, and the nature of art.

Irving Biederman

Irving Biederman

Harold W. Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience, Director of Image Understanding Laboratory, Departments of Psychology, Computer Science, and the Neuroscience Program, University of Southern California

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” goes the old cliché. Poetic, to be sure, but hardly exacting enough for neuroscientists. Irving Biederman might rephrase it: "The pleasure of a rich, novel perceptual or cognitive experience derives from the opioid activity of the cerebral cortex." It is what makes us infovores, always seeking new, but interpretable experiences. Biederman focuses on the brain's role in vision, investigating the brain processes underlying humans' ability to quickly recognize and interpret what they see. Biederman's new theory might go a long way toward explaining how we cast our attention on our surroundings and why we find one thing more interesting at first blush than another. His research includes shape, object, and scene perception/recognition by human beings and face recognition.

Keynote "Aesthetics and the Brain"

Why would an aesthetic sense ever have evolved? How might it be implemented in the brain? The surprising discovery of a gradient of opioid receptors in cortical areas engaged in perception and cognition may provide the key for understanding our pleasure at viewing an engaging work of art, an extraordinary vista, understanding a scientific theory (or any good idea), or the mirth engendered by a joke. If we assume that experiences are preferred that maximize this opioid activity, then preferred inputs will tend to be those that are richly interpretable (not just complex). Once we have an experience, however, adaptation reduces the activity, diminishing the release of opioids, leading to novelty preferences (or “been there, done that”). This system thus renders us infovores, serving to maximize the rate at which we acquire new but interpretable information.

Conference Organization


Claus-Christian Carbon, PhD

Department of General Psychology and Methodology
University of Bamberg
Markusplatz 3, D-96047 Bamberg, Germany


Organizing team

  • Claude Muth
  • Alexander „Sasha“ Pastukhov
  • Marius Raab
  • Uwe C. Fischer
  • Sandra Utz

  • Berlin
  • Corinna Kuehnapfel
  • Felix Binder

Conference committee

(in alphabetical order)

  • Rossana Actis
  • Marco Bertamini
  • Nicola Bruno
  • Claus-Christian Carbon
  • Joerg Fingerhut
  • Uwe Fischer
  • Akiyoshi Kitaoka
  • Jan Koenderink
  • Ute Leonards
  • Manuela Marin
  • Slobodan Markovic
  • George Mather
  • Claudia Muth
  • Marcos Nadal
  • Stefan Ortlieb
  • Galina Paramei
  • Alexander Pastukhov
  • Robert Pepperell
  • Sylvia Pont
  • Ana Radonjic
  • Bilge Sayim
  • Alessandro Soranzo
  • Branka Spehar
  • Sandra Utz
  • Andrea van Doorn
  • Rob van Lier
  • Johan Wagemans
  • Maarten Wijntjes
  • Daniele Zavagno

Human Vision and Electronic Imaging 2018

Hyatt Regency Hotel San Francisco Airport, Burlingame, CA USA

January 28 - February 1, 2018


HVEI is a conference, and a community, dedicated to research at the intersection of human vision/cognition, imaging technologies and aesthetics/art. The conference runs for four days, with peer-reviewed technical presentations and posters punctuated with interactive discussions, panels, short courses, and social activities. Every year, special invited sessions introduce new topics to the HVEI community, broadening the dialogue and encouraging new areas of research.

HVEI's goal is to enable communication and collaboration across disciplines. HVEI authors and attendees come from academic departments in computer science, imaging science, engineering, psychology, cognitive neuroscience and art; they also come from high tech and government laboratories, and from art studios and start-ups.

The Proceedings are published online and are free-access, with no charges to the authors or the readers.

Conference Topics:

  • Fundamental and applied research in human perception and cognition, including psychophysical, neurophysiological, and computational approaches to human spatial, temporal, color, and stereo perception
  • Visual, auditory, haptic, olfactory and taste perception, and cross-sensory interactions o Perceptually-based algorithms, metrics and methods for image and video quality and compression; image and video analysis and understanding; texture, lighting, and material appearance; and rendering
  • Visual cognition, including visual attention and saliency, visual search, pattern recognition, perceptual organization and semantics
  • Higher-level issues in image quality, include quality of experience, aesthetics, emotion, and context
  • Perceptual and cognitive opportunities for emerging technologies, including social networks, big data visualization, data analytics, medical imaging, mobile computing, and digital humanities
  • Perception, art, and aesthetics, including fine arts and design, integrating artistic and scientific insights on perceptual phenomena

All accepted papers are published in the proceedings of Electronic Imaging. Authors must submit a 4-6-page paper with optional figures using the symposium template. Authors can optionally select JIST-First submission option for expedited review and publication in the Journal of Imaging Science and Technology (JIST) before the conference, oral presentation at the conference, and inclusion in the conference proceedings (earlier submission deadline requirement).

Important Dates:
JIST-First submission deadline: 30 June 2018 (4-6-page paper) Regular
Submission deadline: 15 August 2018 Author notification: September-October
2018 Conference dates: 28 January - 1 February 2018

Conference Chairs:

  • Bernice Rogowitz, Visual Perspectives (United States)
  • Thrasyvoulos Pappas, Northwestern University (United States)
  • Huib de Ridder, Technische Universiteit Delft (Netherlands)

Albrecht Dürer's "The Painter's Manual"

The background drawing is from Albrecht Dürer's "The Painter's Manual", published in 1525. The image nicely illustrates the scientific technique of accurately depicting perspective, so can be seen as a good example of the joint and powerful forces of art & science illustrating one of the VSAC's main aims: to bring together artists and scientists - and artists who follow a scientific path in their arts.

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Photos of museums were obtain from Wikimedia Commons under are in public domain or are used under Creative Commons license. Photo of the Reichsbahnbunker: own work of user Nicor. Photo of East Side Gallery (“The Wall”): own work user Jaimrsilva. Photo of Hamburger Bahnhof: own work of user JuergenG.