Monday, July 18, 2016

Neuroscience and Art

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system and the brain. It is the study of how the nervous system changes, how it’s structure, and inevitably what it does. Ever since life has become conscience questions of intelligence and emotion have been posed. In ancient times Egyptians believed that humans used their hearts to process thought. The brilliant Aristotle thought the same. It is one of the many areas of science that has many more questions than answers, which makes it the perfect discipline for artists to delve into.

Three images of the Brainbow neuron's
An art project, which coalesces extremely well with science, is the Brainbow. Jeff W. Lichtman and Joshua R. Sanes developed the practice in 2007, professors of Molecular & Cellular Biology at Harvard. The Brainbow uses fluorescent proteins to distinguish neurons in the brain from neighboring neurons. The resulting images create a beautiful piece, which has won awards in science photography competitions. The process has majorly contributed to the study of neural connections in the brain, or connectomics.

Matt Mullican's performance
under hypnosis
The study of the mind and dreams is one that is incredibly interesting, especially the fact that humans forget 95 percent of their dreams. The artist Matt Mullican experimented on the unconsciousness through his performance under hypnosis. During his performance, Mullican cries, shakes, rubs on the floor and does other unpleasant things. According to Mullican, it is his way to detach from himself, just like dreams allow the human mind to detach and experience things that the physical body cannot.

The disagreements by two of the world’s greatest philosophers Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud bring upon fascinating viewpoints from different perspectives. For example, Freud thought religion to be a fraud and Jung believed religion to play an important role for people’s development and self-reflection. Recent neurological studies supports Jung's belief that dreams are the most readily accessible expression of the unconscious. Like many of the questions posed by neuroscience, the two philosophers question things that to this day are still un-answerable.
The movie poster for a movie depicting the altercations of famous philosophers
Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud


"Brainbow." Center for Brain Science. Web. 17 May 2016.
"The Believer - Interview with Matt Mullican." The Believer. 2012. Web. 17 May 2016.
"Performance Under Hypnosis (Whitney)", Matt Mulligan." YouTube. Web. 17 May 2016.
Vesna, Vitoria. "" YouTube. Web. 17 May 2016.
Allman J, et al (2001). "The anterior cingulate cortex. The evolution of an interface between emotion and cognition". N Y Acad Sci. 935: 107–17 

"A Dangerous Method Movie Review (2011) | Roger Ebert." All Content. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2016.
"Fondazione Antonio Ratti." Matt Mullican. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2016.
"Brainbow." Center for Brain Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2016.

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