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Organized by Catty Dan Zhang | SoA UNCC

Copyright by UNC Charlotte All Rights Reserved


The Environmental Consciousness Project

“Aesthetic application of technology is the only means of achieving new consciousness to match our new environment... perhaps we can learn to understand the beauty of a machine that produces the kind of visions we see in expanded cinema.” 
– Gene Youngblood 

Let us not get overwhelmed by the seen. 

The act of seeing is to elicit associated senses, comprehension, and affect; an inquiry of layers of perception that peel back to expose matters of the unseen. Here, seeing does not refer to the typical concept of visualization, but rather to a process of durational interfaces between human and the contingent environment. 

From Marcel Duchamp’s Precision Optics, to Haus-Rucker-Co’s Mind Expander, to Brion Gysin’s Dreamachine, to Marina Warner’s The Eye of the Imagination, investigations and discoveries on tectonics of vision have assiduously established ways of connecting the eye and the mind psychologically and physiologically. From Jacques Lusseyran’s “inner sight”, to Juhani Pallasmaa’s The Eyes of the Skin, to “synesthesia”, to Giuliana Bruno’s concepts on “haptic space” and “site-seeing”, theories and arguments related to the role of vision, on the other hand, have stimulated critical examinations and radical innovations in science, art, technology, culture, design, and so on. 


Today, the obsession of vision increases with evolving imaging techniques and display systems, and the built environment is suffused with activities and outcomes of computation and simulation. SEE-ING is a project that, for a moment, questions and celebrates both the possible presence of technological facts, and the profound joy of experiencing the effects. It brings together a diverse group of architects, artists, designers, technologies, and theorists looking at how the transformed notion of vision, visual, or visible inspires creative practices  in a number of areas, including new typologies of space, representational methods, material practices, prostheses and byproducts of systems and machines, atmospheric mediums, neuroesthetics and emotion. It questions: What perceives? What’s perceived? And how it matters?

This exhibition and symposium centers on ideas of “aesthetics” and “craft” given experimental processes, systems, and mediums utilizing technology that choreograph awareness with mediated perceptual experiences. 


EXHIBITION | OCT 15 - NOV 16, 2018 



SYMPOSIUM | OCT 15, 1pm-6pm, 2018 



Mark B.N. Hansen

Sandra Rodriguez



Spacetime Illusion

CHAI MI in colaboration with Kaus Sarkar


Close Encounters of Strangers

Mahdi Ghavidel Sedehi + Amir Vafa


Jonathan Warner + Claire Shue

Convergence of Speed 

Carlos Martinez + Ibha Shrestha


KEYNOTES | OCT 15, 2018 



Sandra Rodriguez

LECTURE:  "Of Perception and Experience in the Age of the Un-real"

TIME: 1:45 PM – 2:45 PM


Technological developments have long been pushing boundaries in the ways we choose to represent and emulate our relationship to reality, to our surrounding and to ourselves. From recent interests in data visualization, to more popularized developments in VR, augmented and extended reality, to the current bust in machine vision and AI, new technological advances help creators, users and everyday citizens re-interpret, disrupt and question what and how we see. Drawing from a definition of perception that highlights its social and relational construct, this talk aims to reflect on the ways we use tools and platforms at our disposal to mediate our internal and external worlds. From real looking, to fake-staging and experience-sharing, I question the meaning and power we now give to immersive tools in sharing complex lives and conditions. Using recent experiences as examples, I wish to reflect on the reasons we choose given tools, in given contexts, to convey what makes us dream, think back and wonder.

Mark B.N. Hansen

LECTURE:  "The Techno-Aesthetics of Drone Vision"

TIME: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM


With the aim of sketching out an aesthetics that links humans and machines, my talk will explore aesthesis (or “worldly sensibility”) as a relationality that crosses the divide(s) separating the living and the technical. Theoretically, I will mobilize French philosopher Gilbert Simondon’s conception of information as receptivity without a pregiven receiver to explore the operation of environmental individuation and the double role that technical media play in it – as intensifier of human sensitivity to the environment and as surrogate “presentifier” of the causal lineages informing both human and environmental individuations. By thinking with some selected artworks that engage the problem of “drone vision” – the paradoxical invisibility to humans of a machinic domain of sense – I will unpack how humans share worldly sensibility with machines. Ultimately, the question I ask is: can and how can a neo-Simondonian “techno-aesthetics” mediate algorithmic culture for human experience without reducing technical operations to narrowly human sensory registers?



Curate and Design: Catty Dan Zhang, Assistant Professor of Architecture, UNC Charlotte

Design and Installation Team: Catty Dan Zhang, Austin Johnson, Pedro Pinera Rodriguez, Mahdi Ghavidel Sedehi, Adam Justice, Todd Payne, Kit Kube, and Matthew Steele

Photography: Milad Rogha, Toby Shearer


Special Thanks to:

Ken Lambla, Dean/ College of Arts + Architecture; Chris Jarrett, Director of Architecture; Adam Justice, Director of Galleries; Todd Payne, Facilities and Operations Manager; Kit Kube, Artist; Matthew Steele, Artist; Alex Cabral, Director of Fabrication Labs; Robby Sachs, Fabrication Lab Manager; Margie Briggs, CoA+A Technology & Support Analyst; Meg Whalen, Director of Communications & External Relations; Peter Wong, Director of Graduate Programs, Architecture; faculty and students of dArts and USL, UNCC; Greer Friedrich and Cathleen Mosel of the SoA office.



School of Architecture, UNC Charlotte

9201 University City Blvd

Charlotte, NC 28223

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