[-empyre-] open imaging

Michele Barker M.Barker at unsw.edu.au
Sun Sep 14 18:29:44 EST 2008

hi Everyone

just a response to what Lucette said:

> I'd like to know more how as artists you get inspired more or less  
> by certain
> forms of imaging. How it informs you creativity in details.

This is a good question, and whilst I'll answer for myself, I would be  
curious about what the others (Paul, Alan, Trish, Tina) think.

For me, working with the 'images of science' has always held great  
appeal - conceptually and aesthetically (if they can be separated).  
But it can be didactic in the sense that, in more recent times, the  
visual outcomes associated with, for example, an MRI image of a brain,  
have a strong 'popular' association that often leaves me wondering  
when I see an image in an artistic context - so what? Earlier works,  
like Justine Cooper's RAPT, http://justinecooper.com/, whilst  
employing a full body MRI scan, resolves itself because, I think, the  
tactility of the work as an installation, and the rupture this creates  
in attempting to get a sense of any kind of wholeness within the work  
is not possible. It challenges us in that we are forced to move around  
the space and in doing so, the visual reading of the body in its  
entirity is constantly fragmented.

So, for me, and the the collaborative work I do with Anna Munster, its  
about responding to the processes - and often the problems of the  
outcomes - that becomes interesting. Lucette, you mentioned in a  
previous post, which Anna picked up on, about the difference between  
cognitive functioning the data represented in an MRI. It was precisely  
this potentially fraught 'relationship' that prompted Anna and myself  
to begin investigating how imaging technologies interpret the  
neurologically damaged body. You make the point:

>  But careful approach reveals
> complex questions about the interactions of environment and brain  
> development
> rather than clear cut differences. There has been many studies and  
> it is growing.

This certainly resonates with our work - for us, the imaging  
technology is just a starting point for how to engage with, and  
respond to, some of the problems we see. Increasingly we are exploring  
a more embodied approach to how these processes can inform, for  
example, perception, if neurological damage has occurred. The  
challenge them becomes one of how to create a work that challenges  
perception - by using perception. Arguably, and I believe it is  
something that John would have researched, is what artists constantly  
do in many ways. So, I guess what I'm saying is, whilst our work is  
informed by the imaging devises of the neurosciences, the works we  
make are increasingly removed – aesthetically – from the visuals  

It also makes me think of Brian's observation:
> Creating the open-ended universe world is a challenge on every  
> level, scientific, philosophical, artistic...

I think there is resonance here in terms of Lucette's point about only  
now looking at - neurologically - the relationship between environment  
and the brain.

PS: And I feel I should clarify, that whilst i completely agree, it  
was Alan who made the point about metaphors in the first instance.

  - Michele

More information about the empyre mailing list