From 15 to 19 March 2021 we will organize the second edition of The Skin of Things (previously) - a multidisciplinary gathering centered around the perception and depiction of materials. Just like many other conferences we will go on-line, with some regret as the previous Skin of Things was such a nice social event in and around the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

To accommodate this melancholia, we thought of something to make up. Besides being a stage to share (almost) finished work we also invite to share preliminary ideas and work. If you are willing to join and contribute to these ‘Appetizers’, we promise to organize a ‘Grande Bouffe’ when the time comes to meet physically.

Besides looking back and looking forward, we also look sideways by programming exciting contributions from different perspectives. We aim to create a program that includes many different disciplines and views. Below we’ll explain the type of contributions and the daily themes.


Each day between 15 to 19 March we will have meetings between 15:00 and (approximately) 18:00 Central European Time (CET). Luckily, Daylight Saving Time in the US starts earlier than Europe, so there will be a time difference of 5 (east coast) to 7 hours (west coast). The final program can be downloaded here.

Monday 15 March - General

Keynote: Donald Hoffman - Colors and Chromatures: An Evolutionary View of Perception
Regular: Kate Storrs - Learning about material properties by learning about images
Regular: Kevin Bray - The substances of our immaterial narratives.
Regural: Frits Scholten - Skins of sculpture

Tuesday 16 March - Food

Theme speaker: John Hutchings - Specification of Total Appearance - ‘measuring’ what we see
Regular: Carlos Arce Lopera - Color distribution of fresh and ripe fruits
Regular: Francesca Di Cicco - A taste of art
Regular: Helen Sarin - The Art of #veGAN Regular: Karl Gegenfurtner - Perception disentangles different causes of saturation in natural objects

Wednesday 17 March - Art making

Theme speaker: Viola Eickmeier - Material Properties
Regular: Lisa Wiersma
Regular: Johanna Delanoy - Perception of material appearance: a comparison between painted and rendered images
Regular: Indra Kneepkens - Remarkable simplicity and dazzling skill: the role of oils and additives in Van Eyck’s rendering of materials
Appetizer: Maša Tomšič - Strokes and Brushes, Cuts and Wounds

Social program: reception and tour through Rijksmuseum

Thursday 18 March - Style and appearance

Theme speaker: Aaron Hertzman - Why Do Line Drawings Work?
Regular: Li Shiwen - Perception of iridescence
Regular: Yuguang Zhao - The Appearance of Apple Depictions
Appetizer: Chenxi Liao - Individual Differences in Classification of Translucent Materials Using Photos of Real-world Objects
Appetizer: Robert Ennis - Matching the colors of materials – An experiment in web-based VR

Social program: depicting materials workshop

Friday 19 March - Digital

Theme speaker: Rob Erdmann (e.g. Bosch Project, Twitter)

Regular: Manuel Lagunas - A similarity measure for material appearance
Regular: Mitchell van Zuylen - The Materials In Painting (MIP) Dataset – A large scale collection of material annotations within artworks.
Regular: Hubert Lin - Learning More Robust Neural Network Representations with Paintings of Materials and Objects
Appetizer: Pascal Barla - Inverse material depiction

Invited speakers

Besides the keynote speaker and theme speakers we invite a number of speakers that ensure a broad an inspiring discussion about material perception and depiction.


Registration is free of charge and can be via EventBrite. After you registered you will receive access to a slack channel that we will use to communicate Zoom links etc.

Organizing committee

Maarten Wijntjes
Sylvia Pont
Jeroen Stumpel
Lisa Wiersma
Francesca Di Cicco
Mitchell van Zuylen
Yuguang Zhao
Ann-Sophie Lehmann