The Machine Eye

Thursday, 18 April 2024
6:00PM - 7:30PM (AEST)
Nelson Meers Foundation Auditorium, Chau Chak Wing Museum
This event has ended.
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A conversation about the new limits of perception, from the microscopic to the astrophysical, and from the technological to the artistic. 

A composite of false-colour images of the star system Wolf-Rayet 104, taken over six years by the Keck Telescope in Hawaii. Peter Tuthill et al, "The Prototype Colliding‐Wind Pinwheel WR 104," The Astrophysical Journal 675, 2008, 698.

Since its inception in the mid-1800s, photography has been a disruptor technology, challenging, and reconfiguring our understanding of how we represent ourselves and our communities. Viewed through a performative lens, this series will explore photography in its vernacular and art forms and discuss how it challenges questions of truth and representation, while moving rapidly into the shadow of Artificial Intelligence, with its deep fakes and machine learning.

This panel conversation will address the unhinging of photography from the human eye, and its new life in the world of machines.


Co-presented by the Chau Chak Wing Museum, Photographic Cultures at the University of Sydney and the Power Institute.



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Julie Cairney

Professor Julie Cairney is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research Enterprise) at the University of Sydney, where she supports strategies to enhance industry collaboration, improve research commercialisation and increase the impact of the University’s research through partnership with industry, government and the community. A Professor of Materials Engineering, she is also a leading researcher specialising in using advanced microscopy to study the three-dimensional structure of materials at the atomic scale. 

From 2016-2022 she was the CEO of Microscopy Australia, a national infrastructure facility that provides open-access microscopy platforms and expertise across Australia. During that time she oversaw the creation of “Stories and Structures” an art exhibition that celebrates the rich visual parallels between the representations seen in many Indigenous artworks and the microscopic structures hidden in the natural world, revealing unexpected and intriguing similarities.

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Peter Tuthill

Professor Peter Tuthill is an expert in astrophysical imaging; studying stars and their immediate environments with unprecedented resolution. After obtaining undergraduate degrees in physics at University of Queensland and the Australian National University, Peter moved to Cambridge University graduating with a PhD in 1995. For the next 5 years, he worked as a Research Astronomer at the University of California in Berkeley in a research group led by Nobel Laureate, Professor Charles Townes. Peter returned to Australia with the millenium, holding a number of Australian Research Council fellowships up to his present appointment as a Future Fellow. Peter works at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy - one of the largest astrophysics groups in the country - serving as director from 2010-2015.

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Eleanor Zeichner

Eleanor Zeichner (she/her) is the Assistant Curator at UTS Gallery, and curator of the Gallery’s current exhibition Image, Interrupted, on view until April 12. Recent curatorial projects include Forensic Architecture: Cloud Studies (2020) and After Technology (2019), both with Stella Rosa McDonald. She has written for un magazine, Artlink, Art & Australia and Vault, and is a former editor of Runway Australian Experimental Art


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Thu, 16 November 2023


The Lens

William Yang, Yvette Hamilton, and Dorcas Tang

An artwork showing torn up fragments of a photograph

Wed, 6 September 2023


The Negative

Geoffrey Batchen, Justine Varga, James Tylor, and Anne Ferran

A title screen reading "Photography Falls Apart"
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