PERFECTION: Open call for submissions

Science Gallery Melbourne is seeking proposals for up to 20 works for PERFECTION, an exhibition and public program aimed at young adults, that asks artists, designers and scientists - what does it mean to be perfect?   

Calling all fermions, utopians, grinders and avatars! We are on the look-out for ideas that will bring our 2018 program PERFECTION to life, in what is going to be a bumper year for Science Gallery Melbourne as we tease out the impossibility of perfect. Proposals that will inspire are those that collide different disciplines and aren’t afraid to ask challenging questions.

We’ve begun our open call for PERFECTION by asking what does it mean to be perfect? And we will be further asking how far you would go to have your ideal life? Joining our team of curatorial advisors are Physicist Professor Elisabetta Barberio, Musicologist Dr David Irving, Plastic Surgeon Dr Terry Wu and Computer Scientist Professor Karin Verspoor, along with Science Gallery Melbourne Director Rose Hiscock and Head of Programs Ryan Jefferies.

So let’s pull out some ideas of perfection to get your creative juices flowing…


We want to explore existing concepts of perfection that attempt to explain life and the universe. For example,laws that define space, time and energy with precision;algorithms that help us understand big data; symbiotic balance in ecosystems, symmetry in everything from planets to cells; recurring patterns and Fibonacci sequences. From subatomic particles to DNA replication, camouflage to the water cycle – how does maths explain the laws of nature? And are these laws perfect?


Utopian visions of the future have existed since the beginnings of humanity – with religious nirvanas and science-fiction worlds offering visions of a perfect future. Is the world we live in already a utopia? And what products, robots, architectural designs and political systems would make our world more ‘perfect’?


We also won’t shy away from holding up a mirror to ourselves. We can snip, tuck and change our appearance and even our genes, whether plastic surgery, body building or CRISPR, to be a more ‘perfect’ version of who we already are. Biohacking and body modification are on the rise, so too are ideas of neo-eugenics. We further strive for perfection through sports, dance and music – pushing the human ability to its limits. And we’ve become careful curators of our perfect virtual lives, filtering and editing our online life into perfect ideals or endlessly swiping in search of a perfect partner. What would you change about yourself?


But does perfection even exist? Or is it ultimately unachievable? The variation in life that we see everywhere is a consequence of imperfection – whether it be errors in DNA sequences, asymmetry in energy flow. Even twins are not perfectly the same. The imperfection of life can be considered an ‘optopia’ – an optimal system that sustains life and creates diversity. The perfect imperfect.

The quirky words of PERFECTION

Bosons and Fermions

At the core of quantum theory are the subatomic particles bosons and fermions. The force-carrying bosons move back and forth between fermions, the matter particles. Examples of bosons include photons and the so called ‘god particle’, the Higgs boson. Fermions, including quarks and leptons, are considered the perfect candidate for the building blocks of matter.


A utopian is quite simply an idealistic reformer. Someone who wants to make the world a ‘perfect’ place. Utopia was first described by Thomas More as an idealised imaginary island in 1516 and has since become an ideal future society by many science fiction writers, architects and politicians.


Grinders are people who ‘improve’ their own body using do-it-yourself body modification. Also known as biohackers, this growing community follow a transhumanist philosophy and use insertables and smart drugs to enhance and perfect themselves.


Made famous recently by James Cameron’s blockbuster, an avatar is a digital representation of a person when interacting online via video games or digital environments. Essentially a physical entity (you) becomes an abstract form (an avatar).


Ultimately PERFECTION will be as much about the imperfect as the perfect. The imperfectly perfect. Feeling inspired? Then make sure to submit a proposal via our open call or get in touch at

Submissions due by 2 January 2018.

“Lilypad” by Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut


My Yoko Ono, still from music video by Reptile Youth and Lucy McRae

All that I am by Koby Barhad