Eyes is a new publication edited by Professor Jill Bennett and Dr Mary Zournazi, both members of UNSW Art & Design’s National Institute of Experimental Arts (NIEA).

In 2015, Dr Zournazi interviewed Michel Serres, a Professor of the History of Science at Stanford University and also a member of the Académie Française. Professor Serres is recognised internationally for his explorations of parallel developments between scientific, philosophical, and literary trends, and has built a reputation as one of modern France's most gifted and original thinkers.

In the interview Serres said humanity is “reaching the limits of petroleum supplies… exhausting energy resources, and it is thus necessary to find new technologies”. His approach draws upon new developments in science and technology and he interlaces these insights with the philosophies of Plato and eighteenth century Enlightenment thinkers. Serres explains that he would prefer to “focus on the idea of night, the shadow of night” and asks what can be seen that is different, which allows us to widen our scope of thought and problem solving?

His new book, Eyes harnesses this concept and presents a philosophical examination of different ways of seeing, thinking, and knowing. Serres explores the capacities of eyes  - asking how do we see? What is seeing, or being seen? He also questions the human presumption that human thought reigns above that of other living creatures and he asks his readers to imagine the 'sight of non-human eyes' and question if this changes our perception of the world and ourselves?

Produced in full colour, Eyes is a visually stunning production that interweaves texts with images resulting in a philosophical-art book. In brief poetic texts, Michel Serres invites us to enter rather than to leave Plato's Cave, and in this space the visionary philosopher comes into his own, in the half-light of a “universe studded with eyes”.

Michel Serres is a Professor in the History of Science at Stanford University. A renowned and popular philosopher, he is a prize-winning author of essays and books, such as The Five Senses (Grasset/Continuum), Genesis (Grasset/U. of Michigan Press), and Biogée (Le Pommier/Univocal Press).

Eyes is published by Bloomsbury Publishing and envisioned to be the first in a series entitled Thinking in the World to be edited by Bennett and Zournazi.  

Eyes is available here.