School of Visual Arts

Embodied Fantasies:
International Conference 2011

Suzanne Anker, Embodied Fantasies, 2010. Inkjet print.


Embodied Fantasies, a concept central to art history, theory and practice is concurrently a topic debated in the fields of the neuro- and cognitive sciences, philosophy and phenomenology. This theme will be addressed in a transdisciplinary conference hosting scholars and artists from the fields of architecture, art history, visual art, history of science and psychology among others. Discussions will focus on concepts of embodiment as they relate to sexuality, aesthetics, epistemology, perception and fantasy itself. Approaches to the role of fantasies will be viewed beyond traditional conceptions to include complex thinking processes, subjectivity, and the inter-subjective. Prominent attention will be paid to fantasies and images as a form of knowledge production.

Speakers include: Gabriele Brandstetter (Freie Universität, Berlin), Horst Bredekamp (Humboldt-Universität, Berlin), Mark Dery (Cultural Critic), Frank Gillette (SVA), Dan Hutto (University of Hertfordshire, UK), Mitchell Joachim (TerreformONE), Arthur I. Miller (University of London, UK), Alva Noë (University of California and CUNY), Shelley Rice (NYU), McKenzie Wark (The New School), among others.


Program - (Download PDF)

Friday, October 28, 2011
4:00pm - 5:45pm Conference Registration
6:00pm - 6:30pm


Suzanne Anker

6:30pm - 8:30pm

Plenary Speakers

A discussion of the intersections among art, cities and technology that would contribute to sustaining a healthy planet.

An exploration of extensive research on the drawings of Tommaso Campanella, Galileo Galilei and Matthӓus Merian.

Sabine Flach: Moderator
8:30pm - 9:00pm Refreshments: wine and cheese


Saturday, October 29, 2011
9:00am - 10:00am Conference Registration and Continental Breakfast
10:00am - 12:30pm

Panel I: Oxymoronic Places and Spaces

The traditional difference between perception and fantasy is based on the assumption of a given world, which is captured and reproduced in the mind, that is, perception, and exceeded by a mental creation of "other worlds," that is, fantasy.

Enactivism defines perception as embodied and situated actions that bring forth the world we are living in as the domain of significance in which these actions take place. This concept radically negates the existence of a given world, i.e. a world without its being perceived, and thus the possibility of a difference between perception and fantasy. A similar questioning of the given-ness of reality can also be found in the so-called fantastic literature or magical realism in the work of Jorge Luis Borges.

The enactive approach to cognition as well as the magic realism provide a foundation to address how can fantasy be defined in the context of a non-given world? I aim to explore this question through a lecture and sound installation based on field recordings of New York City realized by following the steps of some characters in Paul Auster's writings, influenced by Borges's magical realism.

The talk's main argument is that fantasies understood as mental images need an inner pictorial sense which goes far beyond the mere description of an internal and external way of seeing. The thesis of the talk is that the ability to visualize mental images, or fantasies, expects an intense self- perception, or more a subject's ability to be aware about the interwoveness of its own internal and external ways of seeing. As such, this self-perception needs a certain space which —and this is the next thesis of the talk— oscillates between a scene and a scenario.

To bring these two arguments together, the talk will focus on Michael Foucault's concept of the 'Heterotopie' and bring this concept close to embodiment theories. The thesis of the talk is that a fantasy needs a space that oscillates between a —in Foucaults terms— lieu and a non-lieu (place and a non-place) to become a mental image that could be visualized and seen as an arrangement that is always both a scene and a scenario.

Assuming that this is correct, every seeing process is always already an oscillation between fact and fiction, between vision, seeing and thinking, scene and scenario to link this special seeing to a visual term, which can trace its origin back to the meaning: visio. This imagination of seeing, —concreter: this reflexive process one needs to be in to talk about fantasies— means to imagine a fantasy; in which then the actual picture sense is not the eye but the sense for the visual, and with it the pictorial itself, which naturally includes forms of imagination, delusion, and fantasy.

Furthermore, it is necessary to understand the mental in an expedition, to perform a double movement: Assuming that an essential iconic structure is imminent to the mental, it is also important to revise the image term —mentally and imaginatively. This revision detaches it from a simplifying reference to objects of the external world and leads to a picture term which encompasses the picture's own singularities and extends beyond the optical phenomenon of 'picture'.

If one follows these exemplifications, such a pictorial meaning is always attached to a double visibility which sees itself as essentially governed by the iconic: the relation between 'visible' and 'meant', of the 'show itself' and the 'shown'. But then it is not primarily the eye that governs this pictorial sense; rather, a perception is essentially generated atmospherically, its sense would be a body that, in this case, always comprises a movens, a motive, thus an iconic kinetics.

The artworks SOMA by Carsten Höller and Cremaster by Matthew Barney will be shown to exemplify these themes.

In wonderland, a phantasmagoric fantasy world, contradictions coexist.  It is a place where caterpillars give advice, alternative realities abound and elixirs of potent potables create out-of-scale experiences. Logic is rerouted to include unforeseen variables and curiosity alters expected outcomes. Time is not linear and space is transmutable.  It is also where language and literary devices are transformed into actions and where the psyche and its physiology play hide and seek. 

Is the imagination a multiplex entity where fabrications of the mind can become reality?  How does the imagination play tricks on consciousness by providing phantom sensations, hallucinations and even panic attacks?  How do images reconcile fantasies with realities?

Two of my recent projects —a web archive of empty art galleries and an series of videos simulating how the sun will light exhibition spaces on the day of my 50th birthday— are examined as oxymorons of time and space.

This paper examines pictorial projections into the (artificial) sky in the double-meaning of the word "projection"(mentally and optically): in projection planetariums "re-/productive imagination" is practiced, as the constellations are presented according to what ancient cultures have attributed as mnemonic shapes to the poor visual cues of the random distribution of the stars.

Constellations are envisioned patterns, pre-specified by cultural conventions as concrete bodies of (fantastic) animals or ancient mythological physiques. Before the conventionalized constellations become disambiguated by superimposed projections of artistically ornamented illustrations onto the planetarium dome, they have to be imagined with the "inner eye." After the concretized constellation-images have been projected against the backdrop of the naked firmament for the first time, these then already externally seen embodiments from then on act as priming stimuli for subsequent inner images. Once recognized, it rather will be difficult not to see the mental projections any more when seeing the respective star dot patterns as cues again.

This also corresponds to Richard Wollheim's concept of "seeing-in," which emerges only if "the relevant visual experiences cease to arise simply in the mind's eye: visions of things not present now come about through looking at things present." Mere stars are such present visible things, triggering the mental images of constellations not present to the eyes.

By having to look up to the dome, additionally a reinforcement of the planetarium's increased emphasis on visuality, on the firmament as something already purely visual (Lambert Wiesing) is achieved, considering neuro-linguistics, as eyes flick upwards as if seeing something "in the mind's eye."

Beyond the predefined mental imagery of traditional constellations, the free imagining of individual alternative asterisms is also stimulated if children are encouraged to imagine self-invented "constellations," say "a spider" or the like: an evidence of the irreducibility of images.

Dan Hutto: Moderator
12:30pm - 1:30pm Lunch
1:30pm - 3:00pm

Panel II: Ghost Hearts

We make pictures and then we put them to work. Or would it be better to say: they work on us? In this talk, I will discuss the nature of pictures, picture-making and picture-seeing.

We are phantasms and we are haunted by phantasms. This haunting occurs at the core of our biological being, in the ordinary situations of everyday life. (These are even more natural than the psychopathologies of everyday life Freud identified)

With visual perception, we always have a double way of being in the world, a split consciousness —or mirroring mechanism—, that gives us information about the world by doubling it within ourselves.

We mirror the motor actions, emotions, somatosensory sensations of what we perceive occurring in the external world. We also create perceptual confusions I call [misattributions/ transomatizations], another form of doubling in which we misidentify our own bodily awareness to correspond to the properties of objects, selves, and environments outside of the body.

In effect, we become what we perceive. And what we perceive becomes animate with our ghostly presence, just as we become imbued with the materiality of the external world.

These uncanny experiences generally happen with liminal or no awareness, although they can come to our attention when we are not engaged with real-world concerns. We are more likely to attend to them when viewing art.

Thus, the art object becomes the uncanny reservoir of our phantasms, and we become their place of habitation. Through the basic perceptual operations that sustain our everyday life, the art object becomes animate.

Sabine Flach: Moderator
3:00pm - 3:30pm Coffee Break
3:30pm - 6:00pm

Panel III: Thwarted Expectations

When the French psychiatrist Jacques-Joseph Moreau de Tours artificially induced psychosis by hashish in the middle of the 19th century in the famous Hôtel Pimodan in the center of Paris, he could not know he would be a co-producer of modernity.

Within these experimental set-ups between aesthetics and neurological experimentation, he wanted to know more about madness by simulation. But the members of his "Fantasias" —these experimental settings at the borderline between madness and genius— were driven in a different direction. Baudelaire, for example, clearly saw the limits of using hashish during the creative processes, but he also noticed the deficits of traditional aesthetics in regard to these new fantasies or "Fantasias."

With Baudelaire's late poems, written in a poetic prose that was inspired by the dissociation of the self during the "Fantasias," a new poetry emerged, and a new chapter of modernity began with a reclaim of rhythm and sound, within the heart of modernity. A new chapter of arts in general arose —not finished yet.

This lecture will describe historical conditions and discuss the epistemological consequences of this single constellation.

At a key time in his scientific development, the physicist Wolfgang Pauli underwent analysis by Carl Jung. The encounters were inspiring for both men and sparked changes in their work. I will talk about Pauli and how his scientific discoveries were affected by Jung's analysis of his dreams. At the time Jung was looking into alchemy, mysticism and the I Ching. A very different Pauli emerges, one at odds with esteemed colleagues such as Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg.

The central points to be argued on this topic are: Embodied Fantasies are manifest among cacophonous forces shaping the link between art and knowledge; the central role of "hypnogogia" in the fusion of embodiment and rule-less fantasia; embodied fantasies and the yoke of necessity… e.g, uncontrolled lucid dreaming…when in the psychic space can function as if under a diabolical spell…and "Neuro-phenomenology" compared to classic phenomenology—re: Merleau-Ponty and Edmund Husserl - What is the difference making the differences—if any…

The recent corporeal turn in cognitive science is marked by a renewed interest in, and appreciation of, the importance of embodied interactions in substantially shaping, if not providing the very basis for, mentality. Anyone who promotes the fortunes of embodied cognition challenges orthodox thinking to some extent.

Nevertheless some who have taken up this sword adopt a conservative stance when it comes to thinking about the role bodily interactions play in making mentality possible. Thus some hold that extended bodily states or processes might serve as representational or information-carrying vehicles or formats —playing unique computational roles in enabling some acts or forms of cognition (Clark 2008a, Goldman and Vignemont, 2009).

Others have pursued a more radical line —holding that there are no mental contents— hence there is no vehicle/content distinction —hence, biologically basic minds are extensive— reaching across brains, bodies and the environment —not occasionally extended. A standard worry about the more radical versions of the embodiment thesis is that it cannot accommodate off–line imaginings and fancies —those cases in which the activity of minds appears to be wholly internal.

This talk sets the stage for this debate and defends the view that imaginings can be embodied without threatening the more radical thesis about the extensive nature of basic minds.

Alex Arteaga: Moderator
6:00pm - 6:30pm Cocktails and Conversation
6:30pm - 7:30pm

Plenary Speaker

The paper addresses questions of imagination and kinaesthetic awareness in the context of the medial representation of a catastrophic event. Naoko Tanaka's performance Die Scheinwerferin will be discussed in relation to its supplementary connections with the catastrophe of Fukushima.

How can the rhetoric of the disaster be understood as a motor of embodied fantasies touching the visual and kinaesthetic awareness? Tanaka's performance raises questions about processes of imagination as both conscious and subliminal perceptions and a body-felt understanding by the spectator.

Suzanne Anker and Sabine Flach: Moderators
8:00pm Dinner


Sunday, October 30, 2011
9:00am - 10:00am Continental Breakfast
10:00am - 12:30pm

Panel IV: Pose and Expose

An analogy between dancing and writing deals intrinsically with the question of embodied fantasy. Dancer and spectator create together an image of dance as a radically ornamental and therefore opaque figuration of moving letters and ephemeral lineaments, existing neither merely on the stage nor simply in the perception of the spectator, but rather in the complex interdependency that arises between them. Thus, the notion of dance as an écriture corporelle —which has a history dating back to the 17th century— is too often discussed in a phenomenologically oversimplified fashion which neglects the interweaving of fantasy and corporeality by focusing only on the materiality of dancing and the passive gaze of the spectator.

In order to properly examine the highly complex interweaving of fantasy and embodiment in dance I ask: where exactly does the figuration of pré-écriture-like forms take place? How does the Gestalt of a spatial writing suddenly emerge in the perception of the spectator as a fantasy always already embodied in his mind? And how does this impression vanish within the next moment, leaving a perceptual afterimage of the bodily movement that then becomes part of an imaginative diagram of lines or a phantasmagoric spatial calligraphy?

I will address these questions in regard to The Dance Sections (1987) by the Flemish choreographer Jan Fabre dedicated to the exploration of the analogy between classical ballet and  calligraphy. By focusing in particular on the figuration and de-figuration of the bodily shapes of the dancers I will argue that their movement blended with the constantly shifting imaginings of the spectator, create a synaesthetic and kinaesthetic vision of dance as an embodied form of writing.

This paper focuses on the changing meaning of "masquerade" in our global age, and on the ways in which self-expression through the body, using gestures, costumes and social references, has become a linguistic currency, a form of exchange and understanding linking young artists all over the world.

This paper is part of a larger study that explores the work of Matthew Barney - from the early work of Ottoshaft, through the Drawing Restraints (1987-∞), The Cremaster Cycle (1994-2002) and into Ancient Evenings (2007-) in relation to philosophy, particularly the radical ontologies (i.e., anti-Cartesian or what Avital Ronell calls "the debilitated subject") of the pre-Socratic philosophers (Xaos and creation myth), Nietzsche (eternal return, affirmation, will to power) and Bataille (base surrealism, pain/horror as revelation, informe), Bergson (duration) and Deleuze (counter philosophy and art as sensation not representation). Barney's work raises questions about the nature of Being (all living beings not just human). In this talk Elizabeth Grosz's Chaos, Territory, Art, Deleuze and the framing of art (2008), will be used to set up a discussion of Barney' current project Ancient Evenings, in relation to The Cremaster Cycle.

Suzanne Anker: Moderator
12:30pm - 1:30pm Lunch
1:30pm - 3:00pm

Panel V: Between the Flesh and the Shell

A personal essay, a response to Sontag, and a philosophical investigation into the ways in which disease reduces us—the I that says "I"—to mere medicalized bodies in pain even as it widens the Cartesian chasm, untethering our thought balloons from our pathological flesh.

"When legend becomes fact, print the legend," as the newspaper editor says in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. The Situationist International—big film fans among other things—certain lived by this principle. As Henri Lefebvre would note about their MO: they occupied the terrain of resonant symbols as a way of confronting the more mundane communications of what they would dub 'the society of the spectacle.' In this presentation, I will look at a range of strategies they adopted particularly in the early years of the SI for producing 'embodied fantasies'.

Frank Gillette: Moderator
3:00pm - 3:30pm Coffee Break
3:30pm - 6:00pm

Panel VI: Shadowing Fire

"All in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act." (Marcel Duchamp)

What is the substrate from which ideas grow? What is the basis of the image that passes so vividly before the mind's eye?

By retracing the development of my installations with laser light as a case in point, I would like to look at what factors stimulate the development of ideas from the first notion all the way to its physical realisation within a structure of extant conditions —and to the individual transformation by the viewer's perception. ...The rigorous lines of drawing by light contrast with the emotive potential of the glowing red, pulsating laser light. What impulses emanate from the "paradoxical materiality" of this light?

At the same time the characteristics of the architecture, with all its sensual impressions, will also act as stimulators of ideas for my inner draft of a light installation. Then, additional factors come to bear: the darkness, which robs the viewer of orientation, not to mention the synthetically-generated sound-scape which both emotionally and physically amplifies one's perception of the scene. The parameters of action in terms of composition for an indoor installation are defined by the specific architecture at hand.

To realize my idea, I rely necessarily on an inspection of the site, on photographs and on technical ground plans, to conceive a situation in the mind which I will only be able to vet once it is constructed and shortly before the private view!

Added to which, there is a very rational set of conditions regarding safety and this restricts the feasible variations of ideas. Not least in this complex web of circumstances, there is the viewer who is confronted with the laser light and who perceives the installation with her or his own fantasies.

What part in the process of creation in the imagination does the viewer play, involved and, for a short time, also able to manipulate the installation in real terms? What are the factors that determine how that viewer perceives and interprets? How do visitors' perceptions change during the time they spend in the installation? What part does my anticipation of the work's reception play? Last but not least, how is reproduction through the media —an ever more crucial feature in our world of secondary realities— altering the potential perception of these installations?

My paper deals with the question of how pictures relate to mental images and vice versa. Seventeenth-century obscene parodist literature focused this crucial question of art theory and philosophy by using art theoretical terms such as "imitation," "form," "figuration" and "chimera" to describe the effects of sexual desire. Moreover, they discussed the bodily consequences of popular image concepts by taking into account the effect of fantasy on the body and its relation to images. Thus, obscene literature provides an approach to early modern image theory that concentrates on the questions of bodily perception and reception. In 1644, the Italian writer Ferrante Pallavicino published a misogynistic parody of the Jesuitical fiction, Whore's Rhetoric (La Retorica delle Puttane).

On the basis of an ontological image concept, this book offered an explanation to the question of why men frequent whores: whores suggest being ideal lovers. Reflecting the man's desire mimetically, they represent this imagination in a creative process modelling their own bodies.

The promise of the fulfilment of an ideal, erotic vision is justified by the whore's pictorial quality: the whore as professional seductress becomes the subject of the whore as a creative artist with her body as a malleable form. Thus, creating and mirroring the desire of her client simultaneously, she is both agent and expression of masculine fantasies.

Pallavicino's text was adapted in English bawdy literature in the second half of the seventeenth-century, where Pallavicino's approach was combined with ekphrases that described whores as pictures, pictures in brothels and their effect on the brothel's clients and turned the questions of embodiment on the recipient.

Likewise, Pallavicino's critic on the mimetic qualities of the whore shifted to a critique of the perceptual qualities of clients and viewers, or, in other words, the question of the relation of mental images, pictures and the perception of the visible world.

My artwork is grounded in the belief that certain kinds of knowledge can best be accessed through an embodied engagement —a kind of improvisational dance with objects and materials where one cannot predict the next step, where that which is there but which cannot be succinctly described manifests itself in a physical state by what is felt.

Psychologist Christopher Bollas calls this "the un-thought known," something felt in the body sometimes related to traumatic experience, or at other times emerging from unconscious ancestral inheritance or parental projections. It is a way of knowing that challenges cognitive understanding because it emerges from experiences that cannot be processed by thought. These experiences can only be felt as dramatic intensities and for this reason they cannot be subsumed into a mastered narrative.

This talk follows the development of my work over the past year as I have transitioned from working as a film director and choreographer to working as a sculptor. My practice incorporates a filmic method through my use of assemblage, which is akin to film montage, and a choreographic method through my use of gesture, rhythm, and movement.

My primary concerns center around the following questions: How can something that is present in the body but not visible, not thinkable, not narrate-able, be reproduced in a physical, visible form? Why is my body's engagement with the materials and objects that surround it able to tell me what I am thinking before I can articulate it?

The work I create attempts to question so-called reality-based knowledge though a fantasy-based approach that emerges from the body's ability to move towards something without an intention founded in cognitive processes.

I use mirroring in my work, either through mimicry or actual mirrors, to suggest a type of production and re-production without narrative closure —a moving, cyclical, re-articulation of objects, problems, and affects. The work then proposes objects that are in part recognizable but that through their treatment challenge our desire to comprehend and classify things in neat categories.

Prompted in 2004 by a string of natural disasters and the on-going media focus on global warming, I turned my attention to developing a second "look" at nature with the hopes of better understanding how we perceive and encounter it today.

The scientific discoveries of the Renaissance that revolutionized our understanding of the shape and location of our planet in the solar system also dramatically altered our path of development in science and society. In the centuries to follow these advances in science eased our fear of the sublime horror of nature, and with new technology the expansion and progress of mankind is seemingly everlasting. Artists well aware of this fact created a romantic landscape ideal, with a sublime outlook on nature, telling the tale of destruction and problems ahead of us. This landscape ideal is burned into our subconscious and is utilized by a range of actors attempting to attract your attention, money, patronage, etc.

Where previously nature had been within the realm of the philosophical, it ultimately fell under the purview of science. This shift seems to have suspended any update of our own responsibilities in living and dealing with nature. As along as nature was viewed as belonging to the realm of science it could only be scrutinized and understood under the microscopes of scientists. While science has enabled a tremendous change in society and managing our world, it also has brought many problems to this seemingly ever expanding need of resources in order to maintain and run this machine. Only in recent history we have changed this paradigm on how to look on nature, a discussion which is still in an ongoing struggle.

In 1968, there was yet another shift in imagery and technology. The Apollo Missions transmitted the first pictures back to the earth with the blue planet floating in the universe. We were once again back in the focus of the camera; we were once again the center. This shift along with information technology seemed to boost the renaissance society's understanding of the self, to a full circle. The single person is now the central node of communication with others. The surrounding realm of social reality is slowly disappearing on a computer hard-drive or stored in cyberspace ready to be shared with the world.

"Staging Nature" will present my artwork and related research, which aims to provide a new reflection and examination of our western landscape ideal, some of which only exist in our blurred memory, but overrides our day-to-day perception. It seems this longing for the sublime landscape and the sublime horror of natural disasters has doubled in our reality and created a man made sublime places, as well a man made sublime dystopian landscape horrors. Advertising and media are well aware of that fact and use those fantasies to sell us more fantasies.

Arthur I. Miller: Moderator



 Suzanne Anker

Suzanne Anker

Visual artist and theorist working at the nexus of art and the biological sciences. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally in museums and galleries including the Walker Art Center, the Smithsonian Institute, the Phillips Collection, P.S.1 Museum, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in Japan and the Mediznhistoriches Museum der Charite in Berlin. Her seminal text The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age (co-authored with the late Dorothy Nelkin) was published in 2004 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. She is the Chair of the Fine Arts Department of School of Visual Arts in New York since 2005.

 Alex Arteaga

Alex Arteaga

Alex Arteaga, artist, academic researcher at the Collegium for the Advanced Study of Picture Act and Embodiment, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and visiting professor, MA Sound Studies, Berlin University of the Arts. Research interests include: Aesthetic practice and enactivism, auditory architecture, and aestehtic practice as phenomenological practice. His recent publications and projects include the book Sensuous Framing. Grundzüge einer Strategie zur Konzeption und Verwirklichung von Rahmenbedingungen des Wahrnehmens (Berlin 2011), the sound installation suburb.wasserspeicher (Singuhr Hörgalerie, Berlin 2010) and the performative video installation the emergence of form (University of Coventry 2011)

 Gabriele Brandstetter

Gabriele Brandstetter

Professor, Institut fur Theaterwissenschaften, Berlin. Research interests are in interdisciplinary cultural studies, especially in dance and theatre. Publications include Tanz als Anthropologie. Ed. Gabriele Brandstetter and Christoph Wulf. Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2007; Bild-Sprung. TanzTheaterBewegung im Wechsel der Medien. Berlin: Theater der Zeit, 2005; and ReMembering the Body. Eds. Gabriele Brandstetter and Hortensia Völckers. Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz, 2000.

 Horst Bredekamp

Horst Bredekamp

Professor, Humboldt University, Berlin and Permanent Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin. His research interests include iconoclasm, new media, and political iconography. Publications include Galilei der Künstler. Der Mond, die Sonne, die Hand, Berlin, Akademie, 2007; Michelangelo. Fünf Essays, Berlin Wagenbach 2009, and Theorie des Bildakts. Frankfurter Adorno-Vorlesungen 2007, Berlin Suhrkamp 2010.


 Mark Dery

Mark Dery

Cultural critic. Research interests include cyberstudies, the cultural effects of the Digital Age and "the pathological sublime." Publications include The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink. Grove Press, 1999; Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century. Grove Press, 1996 and Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture (ed.). Duke University Press, 1994.

 Ellen Esrock

Ellen Esrock

Associate Professor of Literature at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. Research interests include embodied cognition and affective experience of the verbal and visual arts, theory of photography, phenomenology of literature and art. She has published The Reader's Eye: Visual Imaging as Reader Response (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 1994) and translated Umberto Eco's The Aesthetics of Chaosmos: The Poetics of James Joyce  (Harvard U. Press, 1989). Currently, she is working on Touching Words and Images: Empathy and the Visceral Sensory Body.

 Romana Filzmoser

Romana Filzmoser

Doctor of Philosophy, History of Art, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut, Florence, Italy. Research interests include Restoration and 18th-Century British prints, 17th and 18th Century visual and material culture and early modern image theories. Publications include: Stadtraum - Bühnenraum. Wien als Kapitale in Josef Richters Bildergalerien, in: Images en capitale. Vienne, fin XVIIe - début XIXe siècles, hg. v. Christine Lebeau und Wolfgang Schmale, Wien 2011; Schönheit und Quark - Quark auf Schönheit. Der Wiener Neuesten Mode Allmanach und Marriage A-La-Mode in: Kommunikation und Information im 18. Jahrhundert. Das Beispiel der Habsburgermonarchie, hg. v. Johannes Frimmel und Michael Wögerbauer, Wiesbaden 2009 Buchforschung. Beiträge zum Buchwesen in Österreich 5.

 Sabine Flach

Sabine Flach

Visiting Scholar, School of Visual Arts, BFA Fine Arts Department. Research interests include: epistemology and methodology of contemporary art, praxis and theory of contemporary art, and aisthesis and media of embodiment. Her recent publications include: with Jan Soeffner, Emotionaler Habitus: Verkörperte Sinnlichkeit zwischen Subjektivität und Umweltrelation, Munich (2011); Ed. with Daniel Margulies & Jan Soeffner, Habitus in Habitat I – Emotion and Motion, Bern &, New York (2010) and Ed. with Sigrid Weigel, WissensKuenste. The Knowledge of the Arts and the Art of Knowledge, Weimar (2011).




 Frank Gillette

Frank Gillette

Artist. Faculty, School of Visual Arts, Fine Arts Department. A pioneer of early video art, his work is in numerous private and permanent public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art and Tate Modern, London. He holds fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller and Dare Foundations, as well as the American Academy in Rome.

 Boris Goesl


Boris Goesl

Ph. D Candidate, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. Research interests include theater, comparative literature and psychology. He has published the article "Die Welt als Bildpunkt: Pale Blue Dot. Voyagers Bild von der Erde (1990) als Visualisierung eines kosmologischen Maßstabskonzeptes," in Ingeborg Reichle & Steffen Siegel (eds.): Maßlose Bilder. Visuelle Ästhetik der Transgression, 227-243, Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2009, and "The Inner Eye and the Outer Space: Planetaria as Schools for Visual Literacy", in Mary A. Drinkwater (ed.): Beyond Textual Literacy: Visual Literacy for Creative and Critical Inquiry, 81-90, Oxford, UK: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2011.

 Raul Gomez Valverde

Raul Gomez Valverde

Artist. Faculty, School of Visual Arts, Fine Arts Department. Solo exhibitions include To look and to look, PhotoEspaña, Madrid (2010); 2010-2030, Ventana244, New York (2011); and the forthcoming Raul would like you to be critically happy, C Arte C, Madrid. Groups exhibitions include: YANS&RETO, Anthology Film Archive, New York (2011); Instituto Cervantes, Milan (2009); Injuve, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid (2008); and YCN at RCA Royal College of Art, London (2007). Recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship and the Injuve Prize.

 Thyrza Goodeve

Thyrza Nichols Goodeve

Writer; art writer. Faculty member at SVA since 1999 in Art History and Film, and the MFA programs in Art Writing and Criticism, Art Practice, and Computer Art. Research interests include modernism and modernity, contemporary art and radical ontologies in science, philosophy and art. Her most recent publications include “Bill Berkson: Fingers at the Tip of His Words,” Bill Berkson, 2012 ( forthcoming); “The Artist’s Book, A Matter of Self Reflection,” catalogue essay for One of a Kind: An Exhibition of Unique Artist’s Books, Pierre Menard Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Spring 2011, and ‘Words have “Wings that Fly from the Mouths of Others': Performance in the Work of Lesley Dill,” I Heard a Voice, Hunter Museum, Chattanooga Tennessee, 2009/10. Selections of her writing can be found at

 Margareta Hesse

Margareta Hesse

Artist and professor at University of Applied Sciences of Dortmund, Germany, Design Department. Main interests: laser-installations and working with translucent materials. Most recent exhibitions include: Lichtphase, City Gallery of Brunsbüttel, Germany / Kunstverein Linz am Rhein, Germany, 2011; Lichtschneise, Museum Mathildenhöhe, Historisches Wasserreservoir, Darmstadt, Germany, 2010, and Lichtschneise, laser-installation, published by City Gallery of Brunsbüttel and Peerlings Gallery, Krefeld, Germany, 2011.




 Daniel Hutto

Daniel Hutto

Professor of Philosophical Psychology, School of Humanities University of Hertfordshire. Research interests include consciousness, intentionality and everyday social understanding. He is author of Folk Psychological Narratives (MIT Bradford Books, 2008) and is currently working on a co-authored book (with Erik Myin, Antwerp) entitled Radicalizing Enactivism for MIT Press. A special yearbook issue of Consciousness and Emotion, entitled Radical Enactivism was published in 2006. Hutto is also a chief co-investigator for the Australian Research Council 'Embodied Virtues and Expertise' project (2010-2013) and the Marie Curie Action 'Towards an Embodied Science of Intersubjectivity' initial training network (2011-2015).




 Mitchell Joachim

Mitchell Joachim

Architect. Associate Professor at New York University and The European Graduate School, Switzerland.  He is a 2011 TED Senior Fellow and co-founder at Planetary ONE and Terreform ONE. Interests include: socio-ecological and infrastructural strategies for urban environments, green design and sustainability. Joachim was featured in a cover story in Popular Science, “Environmental Visionaries: The Urban Remodeler,” and honored by Rolling Stone in "The 100 People Who Are Changing America.”





 Mathias Kessler

Mathias Kessler

Artist. His work explores western relationships with nature and the impact of art historical tropes on our perception of nature. Solo exhibitions include Lost Paradise, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York; I’ll Survive Rosphot National Museum for Photography, St. Petersburg and After Nature, GL Holtegaard Museum, Copenhagen. Group exhibitions include Hoehenrausch 2, Offenes Kulturhaus, Linz; Point of intersection Linz, Art Museum Linz and The Invention of Landscape, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City. Awarded the Staatsstipendium fuer Fotografie, Vienna.




 Arthur Miller

Arthur I. Miller

Emeritus Professor of history and philosophy of science at University College London. He is fascinated by the nature of creative thinking and, in particular, in creativity in art (on the one hand) and science (on the other). His latest book is Deciphering the Cosmic Number: The Strange Friendship of Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung, W.W. Norton, 2009. The paperback version is 137: Jung, Pauli, and the Pursuit of a Scientific Obsession, W.W. Norton, 2010. Among his other books are Empire of the Stars, Little Brown, 2005, and Einstein, Picass, Basic Books, 2001.




 Alva Noe

Alva Noë

Philosopher. Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Research interests include perception, consciousness and art. He is the author of Action in Perception, MIT (2004); Out of our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux (2009) and Varieties of Presence Harvard University Press (forthcoming). He also writes a weekly column at NPR's science blog 13.7: Cosmos and Culture.






 Shelley Rice

Shelley Rice

Arts Professor, New York University. Areas of interest include photography, film and multimedia art: historical and contemporary. Recent publications: "The Beaches of Agnes," Atalante: A Journal of Film Studies, University of Valencia, Summer, 2011 (on Agnes Varda); "Material Dreaming," Sculpture Magazine, September, 2011 (on the relationship between photography and sculpture in contemporary art) and "Lawrence Alloway's Spatial Utopia: Contemporary Photography as 'Horizontal Description'" in Tate Papers, London, Fall, 2011.

 Gerhard Scharbert

Gerhard Scharbert

Lecturer for Kulturwissenschaft and Aesthetics at the Humboldt-Universität, Berlin. Former Member of the Centre for Literary and Cultural Research (ZfL) Berlin. Research fields include: literature and science; language, literature and neurology/neuroscience and cultural bases of philology. Latest publications include Dichterwahn. Über die Pathologisierung von Modernität, München, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2010; Pantke, K.-H; Scharbert, G. et al.: Das Locked-in Syndrom. Geschichte, Erscheinungsbild, Diagnose und Chancen der Rehabilitation, Frankfurt am Main, Mabuse Verlag, 2010 and “Freud and Evolution” in: Hist. Phil. Life Sci., 31 (2009), pp. 295-312

 Alexander Schwan

Alexander Schwan

Dance Scholar. DFG Research Training Group “Notational Iconicity,” Free University Berlin. Areas of interest include postmodern and contemporary dance, dance and religion, floriography. Recent publications include “Expression, Ekstase, Spiritualität: Paul Tillichs Theologie der Kunst und Mary Wigmans Absoluter Tanz” in Fischer, D. E. & Hecht, Th. (Hgg.): Tanz, Bewegung & Spiritualität, Jahrbuch Tanzforschung Bd. 19, Leipzig 2009. “Tanz, Wahnsinn und Gesetz: Eine kritische relecture von Pierre Legendre und Daniel Sibony” in Birringer, J. & Fenger, J. (Hgg.): Tanz und WahnSinn/Dance and ChoreoMania, Jahrbuch Tanzforschung Bd. 21, Leipzig 2011, S. 111-119; “ ‘Dancing is like scribbling, you know.’ Schriftbildlichkeit in Trisha Brown’s choreographie, “Locus” in Sprache und Literatur 44,
S. 58-70.

 Laura Taler

Laura Taler

Interdisciplinary artist working across a range of media including dance, film, sound, sculpture, and installation. Recent exhibitions and broadcast include Spiegelei, 2011, Gallerie AxeNeo7, Quebec, CBC, Bravo!, TfO, ARTV (Canada), Channel 4 (U.K.), NPS (The Netherlands), ABC (Australia), IBA (Israel), and SVT (Sweden). Latest publications include: Kleist’s Puppet Theatre and the Art of Tango: Looking for the Backdoor to Paradise and “ici uniglory” in Tension/Spannung, Christoph F. E. Holzhey (ed), Turia + Kant, Vienna/Berlin, 2010.






 McKenzie Wark

McKenzie Wark

Professor of Liberal Studies at the New School for Social Research, New York City. He is the author of Virtual Geography: Living with Global Media Events (Arts and Politics of the Everyday), Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1994; A Hacker Manifesto Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2004; Gamer Theory, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2007 and The Beach Beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International, Verso Books, 2011, among others.













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