TTT2023: Taboo - Transgression - Transcendence in Art & Science

September 27, 2023 - September 29, 2023
Malta Society of Arts

Palazzo de la Salle, 219 Republic Street

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  • Ionian University
  • Creative Europe Program of the European Union
  • Intellect



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The fifth international conference "Taboo - Transgression - Transcendence in Art & Science" will take place September 27–29, 2023 in Valletta, Malta. Including theoretical and art practice presentations, TTT2023 continues to focus (a) on questions about the nature of the forbidden and aesthetics of liminality as expressed in art that uses or is inspired by technology and science, and (b) on providing uncensored space for creative transformation in the merging of science and art. Following TTT2020 Vienna/Online, the steering committee of the conference is excited about the possibility of a community reunion in the beautiful physical space of our hosting partner the Malta Society of Arts.

Since the beginning of time, taboo has traced the edges of experience. As with Icarus, whose excitement turned a blind eye to risk, leading to a deadly fall, humans have always had an unorthodox relationship with rules defining the borders of knowledge and experimentation. What constitutes the limits of the accepted, however, has to be read within the ethical horizons of a specific time frame. It is not uncommon that what seems outrageously transgressive in one moment, can eventually transcend to a commonplace practice. Limits are continuously put to the test as contemporary scientific experimentation pushes forward our idea of the world, in quest for answers but also for solutions allowing us to overcome the problems present in our lives. Progress in fields such as the human genome editing, the creation of cyborgs and any human-like artificial intelligence, are only few examples presently generating double-edged questions on the nature of humanity. One could easily recall Dr. Frankenstein, whose ambition to solve the mystery of life and death ends up revealing the threshold of control between creator and creation.

As we experience scientific experimentation and artistic playfulness in the wake of a pandemic backlash, the issues in art and science keep looping between self-containment, isolation, fear of crowds and mortal reassessment. In the face of genetically engineered excesses leading to a phase of resignation, inequality and stay-in-place internment - of becoming the disease - a reassessing of identity as both parasite and host. Finding new relations to contagion and dementia bears potential  turmoil; its advances are essentially stretching the borders of our experience of the world and ourselves, mostly revealing the fragility of social values. Deeply involved with this lively discourse on the nature of the taboo, art becomes the very domain of contemporary experimentation with transgression, in order to provoke and sparkle discourse, catalyzing possible forms of transcendence. Can this relation bear a force of liberation? Is there such a thing as incentive prohibitions and who/what defines the borders of accepted identities and ideologies? Immersing into the impure realm of limits and liminalities, one might trace the mental structures filtering our experience of the world, ultimately opening space for creative transformations through the mixing of art and science.

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September 15, 2023, 11:45pm CET

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Institute for Doctoral Studies In The Visual Arts

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