VSAC 2017

The Visual Science of Art Conference 2017

Extended deadline for abstract submission:
SATURDAY, 29 April 2017
25–27 August 2017 | Berlin, Germany
Organized by Claus-Christian Carbon (U Bamberg) & Joerg Fingerhut (HU Berlin)


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


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

Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words—it can also be accompanied by an additional one-page PDF illustrating the method used, showing diagrams and graphs, etc. Submissions are refereed and selected on the basis of quality and relevance to the field of empirical aesthetics, visual art, philosophy of visual art, psychology, and cognitive sciences. Note that while each person can be listed as an author on several abstracts, you may only submit one abstract as a first author. All submissions will be considered for oral or poster presentation.

Please note that abstract submission for the VSAC will be separate from the ECVP, but that VSAC and ECVP use the same registration system (you will just select VSAC as one additional option in the registration process). To register, please go to the ECVP’s registration page.

Oral Presentations: 15-20 minutes plus Q&A (20 min slots)

Posters: Portrait orientation A0 (1189 x 841 mm or 46.8 x 33.1 in).

Registration and Payment

(synchronized with the ECVP)



Early Registration, until May 15th, 2017: 45€
Late Registration, from May 16th, 2017: 60€


Early Registration, until May 15th, 2017: 90€
Late Registration, from May 16th, 2017: 120€

Abstract submission via Easychair

(synchronized with the ECVP)

EasyChair website

From January 1st, 2017 until April 29th, 2017
Authors’ notification: May 2017

Preliminary Program (please check back for updates)

Friday, 25 August 2017

12:00 assignment_ind Registration
13:15 Opening remarks
13:30 desktop_windows Session 1 (Workshop) Art Experience
15:00 local_cafe Coffee
15:30 school Session 2
17:30 star Keynote "Art and Wonder" by Jesse Prinz
19:00 local_cafe library_books Poster time 1

Saturday, 26 August 2017

9:00 local_cafe Registration
9:30 school Session 3
11:00 local_cafe Coffee
11:30 school Session 4
13:00 local_cafe library_books Poster time 2 including smart lunch
15:00 school Session 5
17:30 star Keynote "Aesthetics and the Brain" by Irving Biedermann
19:30 account_balance Ballhaus & Art gallery visit

Sunday, 27 August 2017

10:00 Business Meeting
10:30 school Session 6
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.

Venue: Berlin School of Mind and Brain

Festsaal and Rooms 144, 123, and 122

Berlin School of Mind and Brain

How to get here:

Public transport: The closest stations are ‘Hauptbahnhof’ (national & local trains, S-Bahn), ‘Oranienburger Tor’ (U-Bahn), and ‘Friedrichstraße’ (S-Bahn and U-Bahn). Bus No 147 stops at ‘Luisenstraße/Charité’, bus TXL from airport Tegel stops at ‘Charité Campus Mitte’. Both stops are located only a few meters from the building.


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Berlin School of Mind and Brain
(Humboldt Graduate School)
Luisenstraße 56, Haus 1
10117 Berlin


Sponsors are very much welcome to contribute to the VSAC 2017 as well!

Coming to VSAC 2017 and exhibiting there is an excellent idea if your business or interest is about aesthetics and art issues, e.g. if you’re devoted to design, applied aesthetics, or simply: art! VSAC is one of the most influential international conferences on the edge of art & science.

The conference participants come from two main areas: 1) SCIENCE: universities, research centers and industrial research departments, 2) ART & DESIGN: artists, art & design schools, applied aesthetics.

The conference is now taking place for the 5th time. Having been initiated and established by Professor Baingio Pinna in Alghero/Italy (2012), and organized later on in Belgrade/Serbia (2014), Liverpool/UK (2015) and Barcelona/Spain (2016), it will now be in Berlin/Germany for the first time. Berlin is the ideal place to start with innovative art & science ideas as it is known around the globe for the liberal way of living and working, its intercultural statement, innovativeness, and art and design devotion.

For more information, please contact the conference organizers.

Conference Organization


Claus-Christian Carbon, PhD

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

+49 951 863-1861 (secretary)


Organizing team (Bamberg)

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

Conference committee

(in alphabetical order)

  • 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 Sorranzo
  • Branka Spehar
  • Christopher Tyler
  • Sandra Utz
  • Andrea van Doorn
  • Rob van Lier
  • Johan Wagemans
  • Maarten Wijntjes
  • Daniele Zavagno

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.