Event Horizon Symposium

August 2020

To celebrate the launch of Art+Australia issue #56.2 'Event Horizon', the Centre of Visual Art and the Science Gallery will partner to deliver an online symposium during National Science Week, 15-23 August.

This free symposium will take place virtually, with new content released on the website across two days, 17 & 18 August 2020. Two live plenary sessions will take place on Friday 21 August via Zoom. Register via Eventbrite below for updates.


Day 1 (17 August) – Event Horizon: Astronomy and Dark Matter

  • Chris Henschke, an artist who works with digital and analogue media, sound and light, and high-energy physics which includes on-site practice at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), Switzerland.
  • Karlie Noon, Gamilaroi astrophysicist, STEM communicator & advocate for Indigenous knowledge systems & agency.
  • Prof Elisabetta Barberio, Director, Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics and previously a staff researcher at CERN, the European laboratory of Particle Physics.
  • Prof Alan Duffy, Astrophysicist and Lead Scientist at the Royal Institution of Australia
  • Dr Ryan Jefferies, Creative Director, Science Gallery Melbourne.

Day 2 (18 August) - Event Horizon: Space, Culture and Tipping Points

  • Stelarc, Legendary Australian performance artist who has used medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, Virtual Reality systems, the Internet and biotechnology to engineer intimate and involuntary interfaces with the body.
  • Prof Will Steffen, Climate change expert and researcher at the Australian National University. Has served as the Science Adviser to the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, and was chair of the Antarctic Science Advisory Committee.
  • Margaret Wertheim, Writer, Artist and Curator whose work focuses on relations between science and the wider cultural landscape, pioneer in communicating STEM subjects to women and whose global participatory art & science endeavour Crochet Coral Reef was most recently exhibited at the 2019 Venice Biennale


Early in 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration published a photograph of the supermassive black hole at the core of a galaxy called M87. The first ever visual imaging of this cosmic phenomenon was captured not through a single lens but generated by a breathtaking mathematical and computer interlacing of data from a global network of observatories.

In the late 20th century the philosopher Jean Baudrillard delighted in using the scientific speculation of an ‘event horizon’ as a figurative frozen panorama of history, politics and culture,  imploding the ideals of progress and revolution which had been driving modernity and modernism.

In the 21st century, history, politics and culture hardly seem stalled at a brink of meaning or communication, but accelerating.  Concurrently characterised as the anthropocene, the chthulucene, global warming, imminent insect extermination, or the post-human ascendance of AI.

With the publication of the EHT image can we revise the metaphoric power of the 'event horizon'?

Event Horizon image courtesy of the EHT Collaboration.