CAVE — Centre for Audiovisual Experimentation

The Centre for Audio Visual Experimentation (CAVE) was initiated by artist. curator and academic Dr Sam Belinfante in 2016. CAVE was based in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies and forged a collaboration with staff and students from across the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures at University of Leeds. Now operating outside the University the centre initiates and supports projects nationally though collaborations with a range of practioners and institutions. It is the ambition of CAVE to become the foremost centre for investigations into the ‘audio-visual’ within contemporary art theory and practice.

CAVE is dedicated to the critical exploration of all aspects of intermedial art through exhibitions, residencies, PhD supervision, collaborations and conferences. CAVE has quickly established itself as one of the foremost centres by attracting some of the most important artists and theorists including Christian Marclay, David Toop and Joan La Barbara, establishing a new field of audio-visual interdisciplinarity.

CAVE has initiated and delivered a significant number of symposia, conferences, and laboratory-style events many of which accrued international recognition, including the first international conference on Queer/Feminist composer and performer Pauline Oliveros, who died in 2016 and Staging Eastman: a multimodal investigation of the radical composer/performer Julius Eastman in 2022.

CAVE as an acronym, playfully conjures the memory of ancient spaces, environments that have been both carved into the rock and have manifested entirely by chance. Like the enigmatic sites that lay before it, the formation of CAVE is as much the product of existing research structures as it is the carving out of new spaces and methodologies. Vitally however, these enigmatic sites are often cited as both the birthplace of art and of ‘the human’. The radical work of CAVE will necessarily incorporate an archelogy of media and its interconnected modes of thought.

In recent years ‘cave’ has become synonymous with virtual environments that are at the vanguard of technological innovations. CAVE is similarly a site for innovation, experimentation and play within the university: bringing new media and technology to the fore, whilst constantly reassessing and revitalising nominally ‘archaic’ technologies of the past. For Deleuze, existence is a kind of test, an experiment, ‘like that whereby workman test the quality of some material’. it is CAVE’s primary mission to bring this tactile, haptic experimentalism to the forefront of our research, not at the expense of theoretical investigations, but alongside and in tandem with them.


Key Partners

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
Film and Video Umbrella
The Hepworth, Wakefield
Leeds Art Gallery
Opera North

Click here for information on key members

Design: Rory McCartney
Website: Joseph Kohlmaier