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symposium

Seeing without a Seer

In the context of an ongoing research programme the art cooperative Radical Reversibility organizes, in collaboration with Looiersgracht 60, the exhibition and symposium Seeing without a Seer. The programme explores alternative ways of looking, thinking and image-making that evade the central position of the viewer. Seeing without a Seer is set up as a cooperative, imaginative and speculative exercise to grasp what is at stake in the act of seeing.

In this (post)digital era new imaging technologies call the very concept of ‘being human’ into question. In which ways will ‘machine vision’ influence our worldview? What is 'seeing' and where is it located? Can we imagine how nonhumans like plants, stones or bacteria ‘see’ their surroundings?

Since the Renaissance, human visual perception has been transformed into an all-encompassing mathematical structure based on the laws of optics and Euclidean geometry. The development of linear perspective established a clear distinction between viewer and viewed, each situated on opposite sides of the ‘picture plane’. This seemingly objective system of representation also constituted the technological origin of lens-based devices such as photography and film cameras.

As an alternative to this model of representation, the exhibition embraces the concept of ‘seeing without a seer’ developed by the Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida (1870-1945). This idea describes a ‘place of nothingness’ which envelops not only the object seen, but also the seeing action and that in which both are established. ‘Seeing’ is not a subject's act defined in opposition to an object, but is an event prior to the distinction between the two.

The exhibition Seeing without a Seer presents artistic strategies that playfully challenge visual representation in our post-digital era. Delving into the barely visible and the microscopic the participating artists introduce alternative concepts of seeing: polyperspectives, machine vision, a self-seeing world, or vision attributed to nonhuman agents. They attempt to reverse the construct of anthropocentric vision, aiming at a radical expansion, if not the full reformation, of our habitual ways of seeing.

The symposium presents lectures, visual case-studies and conversations by artists and researchers who will present works and ideas related to this subject matter. Artists: Anouk De Clercq (BE), Tom Callemin (BE), Marjolijn Dijkman (NL), Hans Gremmen (NL), Hiryczuk/ Van Oevelen (FR/NL), Toril Johannessen (NO), Taisuke Koyama (JP), Tuula Närhinen (FI), Juuso Noronkoski (FI), Martine Stig (NL), August Strindberg (SE), Mikko Rikala (FI)

Symposium contributors: Alena Alexandrova (BG/ NL), Basje Boer (NL), Marjolijn Dijkman (BE), Hiryczuk/ Van Oevelen (FR/ NL), Steven Humblet (BE), Toril Johannessen (NO), Adam Loughnane (CA), Tuula Närhinen (FI), Henk Oosterling (NL), Ali Shobeiri (IR), Martine Stig (NL), Frank van der Stok (NL).

Alena Alexandrova is a cultural theorist and an independent curator based in Amsterdam. She teaches at the Fine Arts and the Photography departments of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam. Currently she is writing a book titled Anarchic Infrastructures: Re-Casting the Archive, Displacing Chronologies. She is the author of Breaking Resemblance: The Role of Religious Motifs in Contemporary Art (Fordham University Press, 2017) and regularly contributes to art publications and catalogues. Alexandrova curated a sequence of exhibitions exploring the conceptual figure of “anarcheology” in the practices of present-day artists. She holds a doctoral degree from the University of Amsterdam.

Basje Boer (b. 1980) is a writer and journalist. Having been educated as a photographer, she currently focuses mainly on writing. She has published a collection of short stories, Kiestoon (De Arbeiderspers, 2006) and a novel, Bermuda (Nijgh & Van Ditmar, 2016). A new novel called Nulversie will be published by Nijgh & Van Ditmar in January 2019. Boer writes essays on film and pop culture, mainly for De Groene Amsterdammer, and she has worked on several projects combining text and images, with visual artists including Ruth van Beek (at a residency at Kunsthuis SYB), Mariken Wessels and Marleen Sleeuwits.

Marjolijn Dijkman (b. 1978) is an artist based in Brussels. Her interdisciplinary works can be seen as a form of science-fiction; partly based on facts but brought into the realm of fiction, abstraction and speculation. Exhibitions include solo shows at The Munch Museum (with Toril Johannessen), Oslo (2018); ICA, London (2015); IKON Gallery Birmingham (2011), the Berkeley Art Museum (2010); and international group shows such as the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018), the 11th Shanghai Biennial (2016) and the 8th Sharjah Biennial (2007). Dijkman is co-founder of Enough Room for Space, Brussels.

Hiryczuk/ Van Oevelen is a collaboration between artists Elodie Hiryczuk (b. 1977) and Sjoerd van Oevelen (b. 1974). Both studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy (Amsterdam) and respectivey the Sandberg Institute (Amsterdam) and the AA Architectural Association (London). They experimentally explore how photography influences our understanding of the world. In addition to making art, they write and publish essays on their blog The Detached Gaze and in magazines such as Philosophy of Photography (UK) and EXTRA Magazine (BE/NL). Hiryczuk/ Van Oevelen have had exhibitions at Unseen Amsterdam (2017); Bradwolff Projects, Amsterdam (2016); DordtYart, Dordrecht (2013) and Contemporary Istanbul (2012). They are currently tutors at AKI ArtEZ Academy of Art and Design, Enschede. Hiryczuk and Van Oevelen are co-founders of Radical Reversibility.

Steven Humblet (b. 1970) is a writer and art critic with a focus on photography. He studied philosophy and Social and Cultural Anthropology at the KU Leuven (BE). He regularly writes for magazines like De Witte Raaf, DW B, Ons Erfdeel, Etcetera, EXTRA Magazine and Camera Austria. Humblet is member of Thinking Tools, a research group at the University of Antwerp that focusses on questions like ‘how does ‘the photographic’ manifests itself in contemporary art and photography.

Toril Johannessen (b. 1978) is an artist based in Tromsø (NO). Ways of seeing — and not seeing — are recurring themes in Johannessen’s artistic practice. Combining historical records with fiction and her own investigations, her works often contain elements of storytelling in visual or written form. Exhibitions include solo shows at The Munch Museum (with Marjolijn Dijkman), Oslo (2018); AroS, Aarhus (2017); and Museum of Contemporary Art Oslo (2016) and international group shows such as the 13th Dak’Art Bienniale de Dakar (2018); the 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013) and Documenta 13 (2012).

Henk Oosterling (b. 1952) is a philosopher and a strategic advisor. He studied philosophy, linguistics and Japanese in Leiden and Rotterdam. Since 1985 he has taught courses in dialectic philosophy, French ‘philosophy of difference’ and intercultural philosophy and has been Associate Professor since 2001. He is the Secretary of the Dutch-Flemish Union for Intercultural Philosophy, coordinator of the Centre for Philosophy and Arts, and chairman of the Dutch Aesthetics Federation. He is the initiator of several cultural and social projects, including Rotterdam Skill City. His latest book ‘Waar geen wil is, is een weg’ published in 2016, proposes to look anew at the differences and similarities between Asian and Western thought.

Martine Stig (b. 1972) is an artist based in Amsterdam. She studied photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Art (The Hague) and philosophy at the University of Amsterdam. Photography itself is the locus of Martine Stig’s work. The voyeuristic act: photography (verb) and the autonomic product: photo (noun). Whilst using photography she researches the role of the medium in the perception of reality. Her most recent book Noir was released in November 2016 (Fw: books, Amsterdam). Her work has been shown at a.o. Unseen Festival, Amsterdam (2017); Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2015) and Aperture Foundation, NYC (2015). She is currently tutor at the Master Institute AKV St. Joost, Den Bosch and researcher at Caradt, Centre of Applied Research for Art, Design and Technology at Avans University of Applied Sciences, Breda. Stig is co-founder of Radical Reversibility.

Adam Loughnane is lecturer in Philosophy at University College Cork and co-director of the Irish Institute of Japanese Studies. His research and teaching centre on the phenomenological and aesthetic traditions of Europe and Asia. Focusing mostly on French and Japanese philosophies, Adam explores themes relating to phenomenological accounts of motion, perception, and expression, intercultural philosophical methodology, and non-theistic conceptions of faith. He has recently completed a book, "Nishida and Merleau-Ponty: Artistic Expression as 'Motor-Perceptual faith'" (SUNY Press, 2019).

Tuula Närhinen (b. 1967) is a visual artist based in Helsinki (FI). Her works explore the pictorial agency of natural phenomena such as water and wind. Re-adapting instruments derived from natural sciences, Närhinen has developed methods for letting trees trace the shape of wind on their branches and found techniques that enable the waves of the sea to inscribe themselves on paper. Närhinen holds a Doctorate of Fine Arts (DFA) from the University of the Arts Helsinki. She is a graduate of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts (MFA), and the Helsinki University of Technology (M. Sc. in Architecture).

Ali Shobeiri (b. 1984) is a visual culture theorist. He is currently Assistant Professor of Photography at Leiden University and lecturer of Cultural Studies at Radboud University of Nijmegen. Shobeiri aspires to propose the notion of ‘placial aesthetic’ through the triangulation of the fields of philosophy, photography and geography. He functioned as a guest editor for the online journal Depth of Field (scherptediepte.eu) at Leiden University, and co-organized the international conference Animation and Memory at Radboud University (2017).

Frank van der Stok (b. 1967) is a curator, editor and intermediary for artists, institutions and academies. He also works as an editor and producer of artists’ books. Van der Stok studied art history in Leiden. He was a staff member at Fotomania Gallery, Rotterdam (1989-2000). Van der Stok curated the show Lest we Forget at Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg (2015) and the festival To be Continued for the Dutch Doc Days at Central Museum, Utrecht (2011). He initiated the independent research-programme The Past in the Present, which culminated in the show and publication Questioning History (2009). Van der Stok is co-founder of Radical Reversibility.

The symposium will present lectures, visual case-studies and conversations by artists and researchers around the concept ‘seeing without a seer’ by Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida (1870 – 1945).


Programme
09.00Doors open / Coffee
 Welcome and introduction by RR
  
 Lecture by Henk Oosterling
 Visual case study by Hiryczuk/ Van Oevelen
 Lecture by Adam Loughnane
 Frank van der Stok in conversation with Toril Johannessen and Marjolijn Dijkman
  
12.20Lunch
  
 Visual case study by Alena Alexandrova
 Visual case study by Tuula Närhinen
 Basje Boer in conversation with Martine Stig
  
15.00Introduction open space sessions
 Open space session I
 Open space session II
 Conclusions open space sessions
 Resume of the day: Ali Shobeiri
  
17.15Drinks
0

Radical Reversibility
Radical Reversibility (RR) is a practice and research-based arts platform interested in the interplay between image, gaze and perception. 

from

21 September 2018

untill

21 September 2018

location

Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam

[summary] Register for the symposium hereunder

showing

In This Program

Alena Alexandrova

Alena Alexandrova,

Alena Alexandrova


[person_type] participant | [person_role] researcher

Alena Alexandrova is a cultural theorist and an independent curator based in Amsterdam. She teaches at the Fine Arts and the Photography departments of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam.

Basje Boer

Basje Boer,

Basje Boer


[person_type] participant | [person_role] writer

Basje Boer (b. 1980) is a writer and journalist. Having been educated as a photographer, she currently focuses mainly on writing. She has published a collection of short stories, Kiestoon (De Arbeiderspers, 2006) and a novel, Bermuda (Nijgh & Van Ditmar, 2016).

Marjolijn Dijkman

Marjolijn Dijkman,

Marjolijn Dijkman


[person_type] participant | [person_role] artist

Marjolijn Dijkman’s (1978, NL) works are tied together by a quest to interlink science, technology, speculation, art and spiritualism.

Steven Humblet

Steven Humblet,

Steven Humblet


[person_type] participant | [person_role] writer

Steven Humblet (b. 1970) is a writer and art critic with a focus on photography. He studied philosophy and Social and Cultural Anthropology at the KU Leuven (BE).

Toril Johannessen2019

Toril Johannessen, 2019

Toril Johannessen


[person_type] participant | [person_role] artist

Toril Johannessen (b.1978, Norway), living in Tromsø, Norway. Perception and representation as historical and technological constructs are recurring themes in her artistic practice.

Henk Oosterling

Henk Oosterling,

Henk Oosterling


[person_type] participant | [person_role] philosopher

Henk Oosterling (b. 1952) is a philosopher and a strategic advisor. He studied philosophy, linguistics and Japanese in Leiden and Rotterdam.

Martine StigMartine Stig2017

Martine Stig, Martine Stig, 2017

Martine Stig


[person_type] member | [person_role] artist, co-founder, chair

Martine Stig (b. 1972) is an artist based in Amsterdam. Point of departure in her work is the photographic image; the voyeuristic act: photography (verb) and the autonomic product: photo (noun). Whilst using the medium (and moving away from it) she researches its role in the perception of reality.

Adam Loughnane


[person_type] participant | [person_role] researcher

Adam Loughnane is lecturer in Philosophy at University College Cork and co-director of the Irish Institute of Japanese Studies. His research and teaching centre on the phenomenological and aesthetic traditions of Europe and Asia.

Tuula Närhinen

Tuula Närhinen,

Tuula Närhinen


[person_type] participant | [person_role] artist, researcher

Tuula Närhinen (b. 1967), Helsinki (FI) holds a Doctorate of Fine Arts (DFA) from the University of the Arts Helsinki. She is a graduate of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts (MFA), and the Helsinki University of Technology (M. Sc. in Architecture).

Ali Shobeiri

Ali Shobeiri,

Ali Shobeiri


[person_type] participant | [person_role] researcher

Ali Shobeiri (b. 1984) is a visual culture theorist. He is currently Assistant Professor of Photography at Leiden University and lecturer of Cultural Studies at Radboud University of Nijmegen.

Frank van der StokNatascha Libbert2008

Frank van der Stok, Natascha Libbert, 2008

Frank Van Der Stok


[person_type] member | [person_role] curator, editor, co-founder

Frank van der Stok (b. 1967) is a curator, editor, essayist and intermediary for artists and art institutions. He also works as an editor and producer of artists’ books.

events

Other Radical Events

Foyer, video stillIsmaïl Bahri2016

Foyer, video still, Ismaïl Bahri, 2016

Julian Ross

3 October 2021 1:30 pm

Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Film Screening

film screening

On Sunday 3 October the exhibition will close with a film program curated by Julian Ross in collaboration with LUCAS, Center for the Arts in Society at Leiden University. Sunday 3 October 2021 (admission 5 euro for 1 time slot) 13:30–14:45 hrs & 15:00–16:15 hrs (max.

Ilse van Rijn

2 October 2021 4:00 pm

Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam

Performative lecture 'Fire, or how to get rid of those embarrassing graphic markers’ by Ilse van Rijn. On living/writing with a more-than-human world. Followed by a conversation with Ilse van Rijn and Martine Stig about their collaboration and respective works ‘Fire’ and 'The Reflection of the Man'.

Echo#1 (daguer­réo­types), 2015Musta­pha Azeroual2015

Echo#1 (daguer­réo­types), 2015, Musta­pha Azeroual, 2015

Mustapha Azeroual

26 September 2021 2:00 pm

Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam

Artist talk by Mustapha Azeroual about his ongoing series Echo exploring the materiality of light through photography and sculpture.

Hiryczuk / Van Oevelen

26 September 2021 3:00 pm

Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam

Artist talk by Hiryczuk/ Van Oevelen about their current (visual) research about what seeing can mean for our relation with the environment.

Murat Yildiz

16 September 2021 - 24 September 2021

Looiersgracht 60 (Wed-Sun 12-6PM)

Non-Eye Centric Drawings - performative part. Artist Murat Yildiz will draw live in the exhibition space.

Radiance of Sensible HeatSema Bekirovic2016

Radiance of Sensible Heat, Sema Bekirovic, 2016

Radical Reversibility

16 September 2021 - 3 October 2021

Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam (Wed-Sun 12-8PM)

The exhibition From Seeing to Acting invites us to (re)consider the mutual relationships between seeing and acting. 

Seeing Without a Seerradicalreversibility2018

Seeing Without a Seer, radicalreversibility, 2018

30 September 2018 - 30 September 2018

Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The art cooperative Radical Reversibility and Looiersgracht 60 cordially invite you to the finissage of the exhibition Seeing without a Seer this Sunday 30 September at 14 h. For this occasion Radical Reversibility (RR) has invited two highly original authors, Peter Delpeut and Taco Hidde Bakker …

Radical Reversibility

29 September 2018 - 29 September 2018

Lecture by Agnieszka Wolodzko about ocularcentrism during the workshop Seeing without a Seer for students of the Master Institute AKV St. Joost and honours programme of Artez Hogeschool.

Radical Reversibility

29 September 2018 - 29 September 2018

Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam

Masterclass Seeing without a Seer with honours programme Artez and Master Insitute St. Joost.

exhibition view with works by Hans Gremmen and Hiryczuk/ van Oevelen2018

exhibition view with works by Hans Gremmen and Hiryczuk/ van Oevelen, 2018

Radical Reversibility

20 September 2018 - 30 September 2018

Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam

Seeing without a Seer explores alternative ways of looking, thinking and image-making that evade the central position of the viewer. 

Elodie Hiryczuk

29 November 2017 - 29 November 2017

UniArts, Helsinki

The Prognostics lecture series at UniArts inquires into the future of art by taking a closer look at the new languages, models and forms that the latest generation of artists are creating in response to the urgent questions arising today in the domains of art, politics and sociology.

Radical Reversibility

24 September 2017 - 24 September 2017

The Living Room, Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam

Talk with Martine Stig and Sjoerd van Oevelen, with an introduction by Lars Willumeit, curator of the Unseen CO-OP.

Radical Reversibility

21 September 2017 - 24 September 2017

UNSEEN Amsterdam, Westergasfabriek

Unseen CO-OP

exhibition

For Unseen CO-OP – the new addition to Unseen, the international platform for contemporary photography – curator Lars Willumeit has selected RR together with 12 international art collectives to present themselves.