[-empyre-] echo objects and Barbara Marie Stafford

trish adams trishadams84 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 1 13:13:13 EST 2008

Hello & just joining in again at the very end of all this,

Responding to Christina's query i would suggest getting hold of a
catalogue for the Spectacular Bodies show if possible if you haven't
already seen it. (Hayward Gallery, London 19 October 2000 -14 January
2001). Everything shown probably has some relevance to your questions
but particularly work be Beth B. Christine Borland & even Marc Quinn
at that time.

I also wanted to say that I was particularly drawn to Barbara's early remark:

' the problem of identifying what i called some of the enduring
questions, the ones that don't ever seem to go away, the ones that
stretch back in time & forward to now'

It seems like much of the discussion his this underlying note that,
even tho technologies move us in previously unknown directions the
familiar questions just keep morphing & popping up... Barbara's remark
also resonates with my own interest in the historical perspectives of
scientific research and their relationships to the contemporary
laboratory context and on-going attempts to understand our "humanness"
- and and the senses as in "sensual readings" of scientific data too,
relating to 'whole body' research..

Brain plasticity & difficulties that may arise from early
specialisation in a still evolving field was mentioned a while back, &
Lucette has come back in referring to her struggles in the laboratory
and the ways in which they have a hands-on relevance to the
discussions on models. However i want to highlight her her following

As much as it is a scientific advance to conceive brain functioning as
distributed, it reaches its own limitations already. I think these models forget
the question of power. In neurosciences it may be conceptualized as some
constraints on the neurocognitive processes (the spectrum of color that we can
actually see as human; certain brain structural invariance between humans), but
more complexly the current socio-cultural context and how it marks interactively
our brains (for example, gender difference in brain functioning). For what is
question of social functioning, the very common error of scientists (whether
modular or not) is to believe that because something is seen as
"belonging" to the
brain, the biology, then it must be innate or hard-wired. However, it seems that
what is learned can become hard-wired...

This is just so pertinent to where i am now in the "bee house"
(Johannes, Lucette & i are not one & the same BTW although i do
empathise with the issues she introduces!) I am trying to engage more
deeply in the ongoing experiments so i'm seeing all the time the
strategies being laid out, reworked and reconstructed - not least of
all by the bees! Recent experiments on Polarised vision are proving
difficult since the honey bees ( - unsurprisingly?? - ) do not want to
keep small filters glued on the top of their heads...questions as to
what makes bees  WANT to fly (electrodes in their skulls will have to
be used here :-(  for obvious reasons i'm not going to go there in
this siruation) and of course the perennial on-going in-depth attempts
to understand their amazing navigational skills & apply these to our
own real-life situations. (unmanned vehicles etc.). Yesterday there
were anumber of 'tired bees' on the floor & we picked them up & placed
them at the entrance to a hive. Then we watched honey bees from inside
the hive come out & feed them sugar water to revive them. For me this
was a poignant commentary on communities on many levels.

Thanks to everyone for the stimulating posts and for the many useful
references provided. Best regards, Trish

Dr. Trish Adams Artist-in-Residence Visual & Sensory Neuroscience
Group, http://www.qbi.uq.edu.au/page=52793
Queensland Brain Institute
The University of Queensland.

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