Art and science have found a new home in Melbourne with the Science Gallery Melbourne second exhibition, Perfection - which asks why do humans strive for perfection?

Opening today, the 12th of September at the Melbourne School of Design, the exhibition attempts to unravel the many layers and facets of 'perfection', as seen through the lens of artist, musicians, mathematicians, engineers, and will host a range of exhibition-focused events.

Curated by a panel that has a Particle Physicist, Computer Scientist, Plastic Surgeon and Musicologist, from a global open-call process, Perfection will be a provocative and diverse exploration of the human desire for perfection in a non-perfect world – from CRISPR, biohacking and biometrics through to couples that look alike and Brazilian waxing.

Included in this is 20 projects from local and international artists, and their exploration of 'perfection', examining the subjective nature of how we perceive it and what a perfect future will look like. Some artists featured in the exhibition include:

  • Lucy McRae and Dr Niels Wouters whose sci-fi installation Biometric Mirror questions the assumptions of facial recognition algorithms. This futuristic beauty salon allows visitors to scan their biometric data, revealing a mathematically ‘perfect’ version of themselves, based on the ideals of the Marquardt mask, developed by a Hollywood plastic surgeon.

  • Jane Sverdrupsen, who, in presenting series of photographs, explores the notion that many couples look similar to one another.

  • Adam Peacock, who asks how we might change ourselves through new technologies such as CRISPR-Cas9, if we had the ability to do so.

  • Samuel Setenyi, who asks us to do the impossible – draw the perfect circle

  • Tyler Payne, who presents a series self-portraits of her face undergoing a range of women’s body-correcting practices.

PERFECTION: Part Experiment / Part Exhibition

Perfection, the exhibition will also have a number of public events, talks and debates, like:

Sci Fight debate: Only Science can achieve perfection

What if we can use science to take us to the next level, and bypass the millennia needed for natural selection? Surely science holds the answer to switching on genes, and switching off others. With science we can fix mistakes, both the ones we inherited, and the ones we've made. Surely science can achieve perfection. But can we all agree on what perfection is? What does that mean for the imperfect? What price are we willing to pay for the path towards perfection?

In partnership with Sci Fight

Dates: 20 September, 7pm – 10pm

Location: The Spotted Mallard

Cost: Admission cost apply. Book online

Go Hack Yourself

Hack, snip, insert, remove – how far will we go in our quest to perfect our bodies? This panel discussion will explore the current and future technologies for hacking our bodies, and will discuss some of the ethical implications associated with hacking and changing parts of ourselves.

Dates: Friday 21 September, 6.30pm

Location: Melbourne School of Design - basement theatre at the University of Melbourne

Cost: Free event - but bookings required -book online

Guests include: Jaden Hastings: artist, scientist, and PhD candidate; Kayla Heffernan: PhD Candidate at Microsoft Research Centre; Professor David Grayden: Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Melbourne School of Engineering.

Mirror Mirror – reflections on cultural pressures of beauty

A discussion exploring the psychology behind perfection and body image, and disorders such as body dysmorphic disorder, which involves obsessing about a perceived or imagined problem with one’s appearance.

Dates: Wednesday 26 September

Location: Melbourne School of Design basement theatre at the University of Melbourne

Cost: Free event, but bookings required

Guests: Emma Barnard: PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne’s School of Population; Dr Scott Griffiths: academic in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences;

Tyler Payne: artist and PhD candidate at RMIT investigating women’s body-correcting practices.

Perfectionisms – pressure to be perfect

An exploration of the way perfectionism exists both positively and negatively across a range of different industries, from the need for precision in making the next big scientific discovery to performance anxiety in the performing arts. This event is part of MPavilion.

Dates: Thursday 18 October

Time: 6pm

Location: Queen Victoria Gardens for MPavilion

Cost: Free event but bookings required

Guests: Dr David Irving: musicologist, cultural historian, and baroque violinist; Dr Margaret Osborne: Lecturer in Music (Performance Science) in the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Professor Shitij Kapur: Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and Professor Alan Duffy: Astronomer and science expert at Swinburne University.

Set in one of Melbourne's most unique art spaces, Science Gallery Melbourne (SGM) is part of the award-winning Science Gallery International network and is dedicated to igniting creativity and discovery in young adults through the collision of art and science. Embedded at The University of Melbourne, SGM will present an annual pop-up exhibition ahead of the University’s new purpose-built innovation precinct on the corner of Grattan and Swanston streets.

Find out all about what events are showing Perfection on their website here.


Dates: 12 Sept - 3 Nov

Location: Melbourne School of Design, The University of Melbourne

Times: Tuesday - Saturday; 12 noon to 6pm

Melbourne Science Gallery Website

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