The Department of Audio and Visual Arts of the Ionian University organizes an interdisciplinary conference with theoretical and artwork presentations under the theme of “Taboo - Transgression - Transcendence”, focusing on questions about the nature of the forbidden and the liminal as expressed in science and art.
Since the beginning of time, taboo has traced the edges of experience. As with Icarus, whose excitement made him forget the restrictions of his man-made wings leading to his fall towards death, humans have always been regulated by a set of rules defining the borders of knowledge and experimentation. What constitutes the limits of the accepted, however, has to be read within the ethical horizons of a specific time frame. It is not uncommon that what seems outrageously transgressive in one moment, can eventually transcend to a commonplace practice.
Limits are continuously put to test as contemporary scientific experimentation pushes forward our idea of the world, in quest for answers but also for solutions allowing us to overcome the problems present in our lives. Progress in fields such as the human genome editing, the creation of cyborgs and any human-like artificial intelligence, are only few examples presently generating double-edged questions on the nature of humanity. One could easily recall Dr. Frankenstein, whose ambition to solve the mystery of life and death ends up revealing the threshold of control between creator and creation. As we experience a gradual, but substantial, de-centering from the humanistic values, scientific experimentation bears potential turmoil; its advances are essentially stretching the borders of our experience of the world and ourselves, mostly revealing the fragility of social values.
However, isn’t this also the essential role of Art? More than ever before, isn’t this the point where science intrinsically meet with the arts? Arts apply critical questions to our certainties, and it is not a coincidence that in the last decades so many artists have focused on the human body as their primary medium for investigation. In the merging of science and art opens a space for creative transformation. Art’s playfully transgressive nature offers creative bypasses to the scientific grammar and expands the dialogue with its openness to a multiplicity towards the new. Nevertheless, art – albeit its originary affinity with the taboo – is never completely liberated from moral considerations. Deeply involved into this lively discourse on the nature of the taboo, art becomes the very domain of contemporary experimentation with transgression, in order to provoke and sparkle discourse, catalyzing possible forms of transcendence. Can this relation bear a force of liberating? Is there such a thing as incentive prohibitions and who/what defines the borders of accepted identities and ideologies? Immersing into the impure realm of limits and liminalities, one might trace the mental structures filtering our experience of the world, ultimately opening space for creative transformations through the mixing of art and science.
Submissions are welcome both from scientific fields acquainted to audio & visual technology and/or new media theory as well as from the diverse fields of artistic expression related with scientific issues. Suggested, but not exclusive topics, are those associated, from an artistic, scientific or ethical perspective, with:
- Art as subversion and art as transcendence
- Dirt, disgust and the polluted
- The body machine and the animal body
- Animal rights in Art and Science
- Taboos in technological applications and transcendence in art creation
- Tradition, experimental use of technology and contemporary aesthetics
- Internet, new dimensions of “touching” and control
- Post gender, transgressive identities and social models
- Transgression, subculture and ritual
- Trance culture, psychotropic substances and socialization
- Attraction, eroticism and techno-reproduction
- Dogmas’ transformations and dissolutions in present times
- Educational environments and new practices of space transcendence
- Plastic surgery and bοdy modification-body alteration
- Gene editing, mutation and eugenics
- Psycho-pharmacology, somatechnology and post-humanism
- Human-like machines, uncanny valley and sex technology
- Nanotechnology, skin and other dimensions of the body
- Neurophysiology and cybernetic art
- Art and neuroscience