24–26 August 2018
Trieste, Italy

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

Call for AbstractsRegistration

Important dates

Dates of the Conference
24-26 August 2018

Abstract Submission Opening
22 January 2018

NEW Deadline for Abstract Submission
15 May 2018

Registration Opening
20 March 2018

NEW Registration Early Bird Ending
12 June 2018

Cancellation & Refunds Ending
20 June 2018

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.

Call for Abstracts

Abstract submission for VSAC 2018 is now open. The extended deadline is May 15, 2018. All abstracts will be peer reviewed by members of the VSAC 2018 Scientific Committee.

In addition to Posters and Talks, this year we are experimenting an additional type of conference intervention: “Art Workshop”, a cultural crosstalk between Art and Vision Science.

Follow this link for submitting your contribution and reading information about guidelines, important dates, topics and formats. Please note that an EasyChair account is requested. All first authors of abstracts should be registered to the conference by May 15, 2018.

All questions about submissions should be emailed to

Call for Abstracts


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.