24–26 August 2018
Trieste, Italy

Organized by Rossana Actis-Grosso and Daniele Zavagno
University of Milano-Bicocca

FULL PROGRAMRegistration

Program Anticipation

Please find below the latest information about the VSAC 2018 Program Anticipation. The finalized program with all authors and titles will be available by mid-July and it will list Poster presentations as well.

Friday August 24 2018

Conference registration
Conference welcome address
Symposium – Chair: Ian Verstegen

Art and expression – In memory of Alberto Argenton
Benjamin Van Buren – Ownership of Expressive Properties
Ling Zhu – Visual Tension and the Expressiveness of Art
Riccardo Luccio – Psychology of Art vs Psychology of Expression?
Lunch Time
Art Workshops

Patrick Hughes + Thomas Papathomas
Youjia Lu + Marco Bertamini
Silvio Wolf + Inna Rozentsvit
Wendy Morris + Johan Wagemans
Free Time and Art Workshop Poster Time
Keynote Lecture

Michael Kubovy – The place of contemplation in a world of arts

Saturday August 25 2018

Talk Session 1: Aesthetic Experience

Sadia Sadia – The sacred ground: Enhancing and constructing the transcendent state in the installation environment
Aenne Brielmann – Beauty and pleasure: Beauty correlates with valence and anhedonia, but not arousal and depression
Claudia Menzel – Artistic composition in abstract images can be detected fast and automatically
Claus-Christian Carbon – Aesthetic appreciation: The power of Zeitgeist
Talk Session 2: Dynamics and Order – Chair Stefano Mastandrea

Hanna Brinkmann – Does “action viewing” really exist? The relationship between dynamic paintings and gaze behavior
Claudia Muth – Shifting in and out of semantic (in)stability. A dynamic view on interest in visual ambiguity, indeterminacy, and disorder
Andreas Gartus – Need for cognitive closure affects preferences for symmetry
Stefano Mastandrea – Flying gallop or running pony? The perception of movement in horse’s gaits from Gericault and Wright paintings
Coffee break and Poster Time
Symposium – Chair: Rossana Actis-Grosso

Representation of events and dynamic content in the visual arts
Hermann Kalkofen – Today’s Neglect of Person Repetition in Narrative Pictures
Ian Verstegen – Pictorial continuous narratives: Perceptual-representational strategies
Rossana Actis-Grosso: Dynamic contents in the visual arts: the tricky passage between simultaneity and succession
Lunch Time
Talk Session 3: Mixed Sessions – Chair: Daniele Zavagno

Judith Haziot Schreiber – Visible facture in painting, from Art History to Cognitive Sciences
Irina Shoshina – Contemporary audio-visual art and mechanism of global and local information analysis
Johannes M Zanker – A direct and fast comparison method to measure perceived complexity
Laurens Meeus – Image processing in art investigation: recent developments and a case study on the Ghent altarpiece
Coffee Break and Poster Time
Business Meeting
Keynote Lecture

Ian Koenderink: Macchie, passages and edges lost and found

Sunday August 26 2018

Talk Session 4: On Artists and more

Stefanie De Winter: Split-Second Art: Investigating Frank Stella’s Moroccan Paintings (1964) with a Short Exposure Experiment
Russell D Hamer: Surreal Artist as Visual Neuroscientist: Perceptuo-Cognitive Analysis of Selected Works of René François Ghislain Magritte
Elodie Fourquet: Perspectives on the Canvas
Christopher Tyler: Did Leonardo Da Vinci have strabismus?
Symposium – Chair: Daniele Zavagno

Teaching Psychology of Art: ideas and issues
Carmelo Calì: Questions for the psychology of the artful mind
George Mather: Sensation and perception in visual art
Claus-Christian Carbon: Teaching and Researching: Two sides of a coin
Coffee Break
Talk Session 5: Perception and techniques – Chair Rossana Actis-Grosso

Christoph Witzel: What are “complementary colours”?
Mitchell van Zuijlen: Human skin depiction over the ages
Cristina Spoiala: Translucency in sea paintings
Qasim Zaidi: Picture perception reveals mental geometry of 3D scene inferences
Closing Remarks

VSAC 2018 Keynote Lectures

The place of contemplation in a world of arts

by Michael Kubovy

Three topics have preoccupied psycho- and neuro-aestheticians: perception, preference, and pleasure. In this talk, I intend to examine two topics that scholars have not treated with sufficient care: the scope of their subject matter, and the nature of pleasure. In particular, I will inveigh against the following widely accepted view (as articulated by Skov & Nadal, 2018): “assuming that art is special is to cling to the idea that some aspect of our species’ mental constitution makes us unique, special, and meaningful. This assumption continues to relegate scientific aesthetics to the periphery of science and hampers a naturalized view of the human mind.” I will argue that although there are reasons to believe that aesthetic experiences are sui generis complex and temporally extended contemplative activities, one need not assume that they are based upon art-specific psychological and neural processes inconsistent with the naturalization of mind. In addition, I will criticize the view (also widely accepted) that aesthetic valuation is the function of a cortical reward network that doesn’t care whether one is enjoying a fine wine or admiring Leonardo’s Last Supper. To this end, I will revisit my chapter “On the Pleasures of the Mind” in Kahneman et al. (1999).

Macchie, passages and edges lost and found

by Jan Koenderink

In the visual arts, one often composes a spatially organised array of elements. These elements are often patches (“macchie”) and edges. These are mutually complementary and often imply each other. “Edges” may either divide or unite macchie, whereas macchie may imply edges. Edges may be common boundaries as in cloisonnism, one one-sided as in outline. Composition often requires that edges be “lost”, either to avoid a silhouette effect, or to merge macchie that are semantically distinct, like figure and ground. This leads to planned “passages” or various modulations of edge quality, the “lost & found” quality being most common. In this talk, I will relate such artistic devices to the concept of “edge” in biological and human vision.

The background image of the title section is an elaboration of the work “Birds” by Manfredo Massironi.

Closed curvilinear doodles. A very small triangle (equilateral or isosceles) and a small circle of almost the same size. The distance between them is approximately twice the length of the triangle’s side. “Incorporating the circle-triangle pattern so that the triangle is external and the circle is internal in relation to the outer border of a doodle (and making sure that the basis of the triangle coincides with a portion of the outer border that has no intersection of lines), you will see birds appear”.

Massironi M. (2002). The Psychology of graphic images (pp.216-7). London, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associated.


VSAC’s History
The Visual Science of Art Conference (VSAC) was established in 2012 by Baingio Pinna in Alghero (Italy), with the aim of connecting the communities of visual scientists and artists to promote cross-fertilization between the two domains. 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.

After Alghero / Italy 2012) VSAC has been hosted in Belgrade / Serbia (2014, by Slobodan Markovic), in Liverpool / UK (2015, by Marco Bertamini), in Barcelona / Spain (2016, by Alejandro Parraga) and in Berlin / Germany (2017, by Claus Carbon and Joerg Fingerhut).

Picture by Nathalie Vissers


VSAC 2018
This year, the sixth VSAC will be hosted in the beautiful Mitteleuropean port city of Trieste, next to the northeastern border of Italy. Organized again as a satellite conference of the 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 seashore of Trieste, be part of the VSAC and enjoy two great days together with scientists, artists and with people who are fascinated by aesthetic phenomena.

Yours faithfully,
Rossana Actis-Grosso & Daniele Zavagno

VSAC 2018 Scientific Committee

Rossana Actis-Grosso
Liliana Albertazzi
Marco Bertamini
Nicola Bruno
Carmelo Calì
Claus-Christian Carbon
Olga Daneyko
Walter Gerbino
Pietro Guardini
Dragan Jankovic
Ute Leonards
Slobodan Marković
Stefano Mastandrea
George Mather
C. Alejandro Parraga
Baingio Pinna
Kenzo Sakurai
Bilge Sayim
Alessandro Soranzo
Branka Spehar
Jasmina Stevanov
Luca Ticini
Oliver Tošković
Ian Verstegen
Johan Wagemans
Maarten Wijntjes
Daniele Zavagno
Sunčica Zdravković

VSAC is a satellite conference of ECVP
European Conference on Visual Perception, the leading European conference on visual science.