Innovative Eyetrackers Exhibition to open at MOTAT

Eyetrackers, an exhibition exploring how we look at art, will be open at MOTAT from Saturday 20 February.

The exhibition investigates the fascinating borderland between art and visual neuroscience. Art works and state-of-the art eye-tracking technologies are brought together to address the question that has intrigued scientists and artists alike: “How do we see the world?”

MOTAT Education Manager, Julie Baddiley says that the Museum is delighted to be collaborating on this exhibition with experts from the University of Auckland. “Educators, artists and scientists have come to recognise the importance of blending the arts and sciences for the enrichment of student learning. This supports MOTAT’s aim to incorporate elements of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) into all the experiences we offer. The Eyetrackers exhibition fits this objective perfectly,” said Ms Baddiley.

Video presentations recreate the shifting gaze patterns of individual viewers as they look at works of art. Installations enable visitors to interact directly with eye tracker technology to monitor patterns of looking behaviour as they engage with different images. Each piece looks at different phenomena, for example gender perception (the differences between the way a male and a female experience art), change blindness and pupil dilation.

For most people, ‘seeing’ is an ever-present and central feature of our consciousness from the moment we open our eyes in the morning until we lapse back into sleep again. Naturally and reflexively, we take the evidence of our own eyes for granted – ‘seeing is believing’ - well, not necessarily!

Vision is a paradox. It presents us with self-evident truths about the world in front of our eyes, but at the same time, it remains profoundly mysterious. How do patterns of light entering the eyes give rise to visual experiences? This is where the interests and concerns of visual art and visual science intersect – it’s the territory explored by Eyetrackers.

There will be an education component to the exhibition consisting of:

  • A programme which is aligned with the NZ curriculum utilising the educational opportunities offered by the Eyetrackers installation. These will be individually negotiated  with interested school groups and focused on learning experiences suitable for students aged 13+.
  • ‘Scientist-in-residence’ talks hosted by University of Auckland staff will be available for booked education groups of up to one-hour duration, during scheduled weekdays, for the period of the installation.

Eyetrackers is curated by Tony Lambert (School of Psychology, University of Auckland), Greg Minissale (Department of Art History, University of Auckland), Gerald Weber (Department of Computer Science, University of Auckland) and Christof Lutteroth (Department of Computer Science, University of Auckland). The exhibition is supported by the University of Auckland’s Centre for Brain Research, Faculty of Science and Faculty of Arts.

Entry to the Eyetrackers exhibition is included in the normal MOTAT general admission fee. No booking is required for the general public but school groups will need to book for the education sessions. Open from 10am – 4pm daily.