figure-figure, ground-ground


MARCH 18TH OF 2024, 2.30 – 5.30PM
MARCH 19TH OF 2024 10AM – 1PM / 2.30 – 5.30PM

An organism is its own particular way of seeing reality. While reality exists, the way the world appears to any organism is incomplete. In order to reproduce and survive, organisms have evolved the ability to include that which is of biological significance and to mask out what is irrelevant. To this end, organisms skilfully draw boundaries around the focus of their contemplation. They distinguish the salient and those aspects of the world which motivate action, while everything else is ignored, forgotten or filed under boredom. Thus at a fundamental level, humans and other species split the world into two parts: figure and ground, a distinction which structures how all beings experience their worlds.

This workshop will reconsider the human perception of figure and ground. For inspiration, together we will explore artworks which capture the ambiguities of the ground-ground situation and scenarios which play with the figure-figure; but we will not be covering optical illusions or theories of Gestalt. Participants will devise novel artistic strategies for their individual studio work – from the inside-out and outside-in.

CADA is an art group that uses a variety of media to activate a space for experience. Its work is playful, often abstract, and frequently inspired by what in everyday life and in nonhuman environments can be inferred through patterns and what might otherwise be uncomputable. The group’s approach is collaborative and experimental. It also organises Human Entities, an annual programme of public talks focused on technological change and its impacts, and runs workshops and residencies to examine narratives of computation and extend participation in new media. Formed in Lisbon in 2007 by Sofia Oliveira and Jared Hawkey, CADA has exhibited across Europe and in Brazil.