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Becoming information

Conference: Becoming Information

Mitteleuropa Foundation, Bolzano, Italy (

Conference: September, 1-3, 2006.

Deadline for abstract submissions: April, 30, 2006

The classical theory of information is extremely effective in the construction of an engineered system that regulates the transmission of signals from source to target, and can be understood in terms of specific laws. This concept of information privileges metric quantities, follows the quantitative and unidirectional parameters of stimulus-reaction, and can easily be subjected to statistical analysis. Phenomena belonging to open systems such as biological, psychic, social and artistic ones remain excluded and/or difficult to analyze in terms of this concept of information. They are not easily computed and exhibit a sort of hyper-complexity characterized by adaptivity to surroundings, predictive structures and a sort of Kansei engineering, i.e. sensory and emotional usability.

Despite an awareness of the problem in several fields of research and numerous attempts to tackle the issue, to this day no general theory has been able to replace the essentially Galilean paradigm underlying Shannon theory of information. In other words, there exists no satisfying semantic theory of information.

The conference, which as a starting point draws on the results of the cognitive, experimental and artistic theories of Arnheim and Gestalt psychology, aims to tackle the ontological and epistemological issues of information from a different point of view, permitting the treatment of systems that are open, intrinsically temporal, adaptive, unfolding and interacting with the surrounding environment. Consequently, it also allows the analysis of qualitative, subjective and expressive elements in the treatment of information. In particular, this conference aims to analyze these matters as related to visual perception, pictorial perception, music perception, design and natural language.

Confirmed speakers are Liliana Albertazzi (Trento University, Rovereto Branch) Jules Davidoff (Goldsmiths, University of London), Athanassios Economou (Georgia Institute of Technology), Walter Freeman (University of California, Berkeley) Jan J. Koenderink (Utrecht University), Ilona Kovacs (Hungarian National Academy of Sciences, Budapest), Remo Job (Trento University, Rovereto Branch), Amy Ione (Diatrope Institute, Berkeley), Frederic Leymarie (Goldsmiths, University of London), Michael Leyton (Rutgers University), Rainer Mausfeld (Kiel University), Roberto Poli (Trento University), Ron Rensink (University of British Columbia), Shinsuke Shimojo (California Institute of Technology), Gert van Tonder (Kyoto Institute of Technology), Patrizia Violi (Bologna University), Dhanraj Vishwanath (Rochester Institute of Technology), John Willats (Loughborough University), Steve Zucker (Yale University).

Ample time will be allocated to discussion. If you are interested in attending the conference and/or contributing your own ideas, please send a mail (with one-page abstract if you intend to present a poster) to Paola Benevento ( or to the following address: Mitteleuropa Foundation, Bolzano, Portici Street, 30, Italy.

Organized by the Mitteleuropa Foundation with the patronage of Trento University.

Scientific Committee (L. Albertazzi, F. Leymarie, G. Van Tonder, D. Vishwanath)

Dhanraj Vishwanath

Department of Psychology

Rochester Institute of Technology