Tate Liverpool Workshop

The Perception Machine

Image: Cy Twombly, Untitled I 1967. Composite image courtesy of Liverpool John Moores University.

Image: Cy Twombly, Untitled I 1967. Composite image courtesy of Kathryn Smith, Liverpool John Moores University

What does a sculpture sound like? What does a video smell like? How can we understand the physical and emotional sensations that artworks might provoke in us?

Can we think of artworks as sensing machines? The Perception Machine is presented by LJMU’s postgraduate Art in Science programme. Led by Prof. Caroline Wilkinson, Mark Roughley and Kathryn Smith, the programme brings together artists and scientists to explore innovative ideas and collaborative practices at the boundaries of both disciplines, and discovering where our mutual values may intersect.

Art and Science are popularly considered to represent very separate ideas of what defines research, and how this contributes to the production of knowledge within our immediate community and the wider world. Both art and science contribute to our understanding of ourselves within the known universe, but does art also contribute to scientific knowledge? What might this knowledge look like?

Through active engagement and collective participation, The Perception Machine is a space designed to stimulate the imagination and provoke insights into questions such as

What is the role of art in science, and science in art?

How do art and science contribute to our understanding of the role of technology in society?

Do scientists and artists understand ‘experimentation’ and ‘creativity’ in the same way?

What is the difference between scientific and artistic ‘authorship’?

What is the role of politics and gender across art and science?

Taking our cue from production’s Latin root producere – ‘to bring forth’ – we approach the theme of Production in three ways: to present or offer; the transformation of raw material transformation and craft; and inherently collective or collaborative creative endeavours like film-making, music or performance.

Scientific experts from the fields of astrophysics to biological anthropology will be invited to share new perspectives on selected artworks from Tate’s Constellations exhibitions that offer engaging possibilities for interdisciplinary interpretation. In their hands, artworks become cognitive, historical and cultural ‘lenses’, offering unexpected insights into formal design and technical processes, past realities and future prospects.

Tate Exchange will be transformed into a working studio-laboratory where visitors may explore unusual visual interpretations of these artworks, highlighting overlooked or hidden details to reveal new and alternative narratives. A programme of live, public talks with guest scientists will be supported by an audio-visual archive of recorded conversations that visitors can access during normal gallery opening hours.

Activities also include a pattern-hunting game for younger visitors, and a digital curating experiment for ages 12+, where you can redesign your own Tate display from Tate’s online catalogue, inspired by ideas from our guest scientists.

Tate Liverpool

Tate Exchange Liverpool

Royal Albert Dock Liverpool
Liverpool L3 4BB
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2–8 July 2018