The programme is organised in collaboration with Radical Reversibility, a research based art cooperative that seeks to develop the visual and conceptual strategies that radically reverse the paradigms of our contemporary visual culture. ‘Seeing without a Seer’ brings together a number of artists, intellectuals and experts to seek counter strategies to our habits of visual representation.
In our daily lives, we are bombarded with images, yet we often lose sight of what is at stake in the act of seeing. How do we use our eyes? What do we see? Where is seeing located? Ever since the Renaissance, sight has been understood (in Europe) in terms of optics and geometry. The discovery of linear perspective and the invention of the point of view, placed the viewer at the centre, in relation to the object seen. Viewer and viewed were established across from one another, as opposites.
As an alternative to this model, Radical Reversibility engages with Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida’s concept: “Seeing without a Seer”. For Nishida, seeing is not an act defined in opposition to an object, but rather an event that exists prior to either object or subject. This way of thinking proposes a ‘fully reversible form of reversibility’ in which body and world are co-constituted through the event of vision.
Using Nidisha’s philosophy as a starting point for the exhibition, the participating artists question the nature of visual media, especially lens based media which often misleads the viewer into believing that the image presented is a mere recording, unbiased and unadulterated by its human creator. Drawing from a diversity of fields like experimental psychology, biology, geometry and philosophy, the participating artists analyse machine vision and image-making in a post-digital era. The lens-based works in the exhibition usurp the viewer from the central position to which s/he has become accustomed. They delve into the barely visible and the microscopic to explore ideas about a ‘self-seeing world’ and inquire into non-anthropocentric ways of being that challenge the Renaissance idea of object and subject in opposition.
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).