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14: Art and perception

Seminar / Seminar
english language

All art is perceived but how much of art is explained by the principles of perception? The theme of the lectures at the Alpbach Forum take up this question: when and to what extent is perception useful for understanding art? There are very divergent discourses of the arts today, from reductionist scientific accounts (biology of art) to purely culture based theories (visual studies). We are facing a new kind of “Two Cultures.” To address this gulf, our lectures center on such themes as the ecology of making and viewing pictures, irrational behavior related to images (iconoclasm and animism), and end with the question of culture s relation to perceiving. Our hope is to move beyond stale dichotomies and create a truly inclusive discourse about art and perception.


Adjunct Professor, Department of Art History, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Chair


Adjunct Professor, Department of Art History, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

1997-2002 Instructor, Temple University
2002-2003 Visiting Assistant Professor, Ursinuns College
2004-2006 Academic Coordinator, University of Georgia - Cortona

Seminar Week

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17:00 - 17:30Opening of the European Forum Alpbach 2008Plenary
17:30 - 19:00Opening speechesPlenary
19:00 - 20:30Presentation of the seminarsPlenary
20:30 - 23:00Opening receptionSocial


Seminar 01: Climate change and what we need to do about itSeminar
Seminar 02: Utopias and alternative (visions of) worldsSeminar
Seminar 03: Wirtschaftsforschung und WirtschaftspolitikSeminar
Seminar 04: Geschichtliche Situationsdeutungen und historische EntscheidungenSeminar
Seminar 05: A European people? Perception and formation of European citizensSeminar
Seminar 06: Ethics and biomedicine: Analysis of decisions and value judgementsSeminar
Seminar 07: Security policy becoming a European issueSeminar


Seminar 08: Who is in control? How the brain controls our thoughts and actionsSeminar
Seminar 09: PredictabilitySeminar
Seminar 10: Public opinion, opinion research and political decision-makingSeminar
Seminar 11: Transatlantic relationsSeminar
Seminar 12: Understanding fundamentalism: An interdisciplinary analysis of "Strong Religion"Seminar
Seminar 13: "Global Constitutional Network" - Limits and Possibilities of (Inter-)national JurisdictionsSeminar
Seminar 14: Art and perceptionSeminar


20:30 - 21:30Special Lecture: Europe - Strategic decisions for the continentPlenary


17:30 - 19:00Plenary session: Climate change and PredictabilityPlenary


19:00 - 20:30Plenary session: 40 years after the Prague SpringPlenary


17:30 - 19:00Plenary session: What has remained of 1968?Plenary