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CLEA ArtScience Research Group

The ArtScience research group is part of the Center Leo Apostel for Transdisciplinary Studies (CLEA) at the Free University of Brussels (VUB). We aim at a synthesis of artistic and scientific methods for the creation of meaning, by producing works, performances and publications that integrate reason and intuition, subject and object, logic and imagination. In this, we continue CLEA’s long-standing project of bridging between the “two cultures”, as first expressed in the university-wide “Einstein meets Magritte” conference that CLEA organized in 1995.

Our focus is on systems and processes that evoke a deeper insight into the universe and the way it relates to human beings. Thus we extend existing CLEA research on integrating worldviews, cosmogony, self-organization, and creativity. Scientifically, our inspiration comes from cybernetics, systems theory, complexity and quantum mechanics, i.e. the theories that focus on process, interaction and emergence. Artistically, we implement these ideas in installations, performances, plays, music, images and conceptual works that illustrate processes of sense-making and self-organization.


The group consists of scientifically literate artists and artistically active scientists from different backgrounds and nationalities working closely together. The present members with their backgrounds and topics of interest are:


Chair: Katarina Petrović



  • Katarina Petrović (painting, music, ArtScience): Cosmograms and cosmogony in art. Creative processes as systemic foundation of arts, sciences and humanities
  • Prof. Dr. Francis Heylighen (cybernetics, complex systems, photography): Sense-making, conceptual metaphors and metaphorms as a common basis for art and science
  • Orion Maxted (theatre, computer science): Theatre: Collective intelligence and complex adaptive systems made of people
  • Olivier Auber (computer art, engineering): The Poietic Generator: self-organization and disorganization in a collective drawing system
  • Jonito Arguelles (photography, quantum theory): Entanglement of Images, Afterimages
  • Stan Bundervoet (composition, sociology):  Music and ritual theory: interaction between symbolic, sub symbolic and intersubjective cognitive processes
  • Dr. Nicole Note (philosophy, cultural anthropology): On the importance of being touched in meaning-making
  • Dr. Tomas Veloz (physics, mathematics, music): Parallels between the evolution of music and of science
  • Dr. Shima Beigi (environmental engineering, installations): Mindfulness engineering for sustainability and resilience
  • Prof. Dr. Em. Diederik Aerts (physics, cognitive science, composition): Entanglement of concepts
  • Prof. Dr. Pieter Meurs (cultural studies, educational sciences): Worldviews and globalization


Selected publications

Aerts, D., Mathijs, E., & Mosselman, B. (Eds.). (1999). Science and Art: The Red Book of `Einstein Meets Magritte’. Springer Netherlands.

Arguëlles, J. A. (2018). The Heart of an Image: Quantum Superposition and Entanglement in Visual Perception. Foundations of Science, , 23(4), 757-778. doi: 10.1007/s10699-018-9547-1

Heylighen, F., & Petrović, K. (2020). Foundations of ArtScience: Formulating the Problem. Foundations of Science.

Heylighen, F. (2019). Transcending the Rational Symbol System: how information technology integrates science, art, philosophy and spirituality into a global brain, in N. Gontier (ed.), Handbook of Human Symbolic Evolution. Oxford University Press. Retrieved from

Maxted, O. (2017). Cybernetica vs. Descartes. De geest van het non-cartesiaanse theater. Etcetera, 151, 38–43.

Petrovic, K. (2018). On Cosmogony (ECCO Working Papers No. 2018-02). Retrieved from

Saillenfest, A., Dessalles, J.-L., & Auber, O. (2016). Role of Simplicity in Creative Behaviour: The Case of the Poietic Generator. Proc. 7th Int. Conf. on Computational Creativity (ICCC-2016),