[-empyre-] neuroaesthetics and modeling

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Wed Sep 24 06:35:59 EST 2008

dear all:

a fascinating debate this month, so much to reflect on.  I found Andrew Murphie's long post not easy to digest, and I think there so many issues at hand that more debate would be good. 

The relation of neuroaesthetics (which is not an art practice or a new syntax of forms, is it?  a style or a signature? a method or interactive "architecture" or participatory process? Warholian?  intended or designed?  by whom, applied to what genre or form or mode of interaction or reception?  are you all implying there is such a thing as neuroaesthetics? why do you believe so?) to modeling was not clear to me, after hearing of  the Einstein's Brain Project  or Ghosts in the Machine, and trying to envision and understand them as exhibition systems.   Trish's "machina carnis"  -- is it a bio art work (here discussed under the "model of "neuroaesthetics")  and how would it relate to Lucette's research and case studies (on, say, emotional processing) and Tina's "Medulla Intimata" or "Chameleon"  ( a video installation exploring emotional contagion)?  

I suppose I wanted (especially after reading about so many ideas here) to have more time to reflect on, say, Lucette's vivid avount of her observation of bees and her work with scientific-image-recontextualiztions via videomigrography  (or the "guinea pig" self performance approach she mentions having seen in Stelarc's performances), and what it purports to the idea of modeling.  

>> So to take this issue of the traffic of models on, as many here are doing, seems difficult. This is not because it involves some very deep questioning (we love questioning our thinking processes). It is because it often involves the abandoning of some models fundamental to our active take up of the powers of modeling itself in daily life. Nobody likes to give this up, or to give up the powers given to them by the taking up of powerful, cultural models and diagrams of thinking/feeling processes! Not scientists, not artists!

Alan Dunning suggested that: 
>>What I see in these images is not nearly as compelling as what they suggest about the body and how that body is reconfigured  High tech images, of the body for instance, are much more interesting when I am struck by the enormous efforts taken to get that tiny glimpse into something at limits of or outside our perception. I am interested in this  visualization of the invisible>>. 

and I was wondering, 15 years after the immersive VR installations created at Banff Center, such as " Dancing with the Virtual Dervish" by Diane Gromola, Marcos Novak, and Yacov Sharir. and the "enactive immersivity" explored in "Osmosis"  (by Char Davies and her collaborators) and similar works like this which traveled and, to that extent, disseminated, 
whether it is the case, as Tina proposes, that creative appropriation of medical visualization techniques may throw unexpected  light on their clinical uses...?   I have not heard this confirmed from scientists and research & funding institutions, nor from exhibition spaces and audiences that could have seen particular works that were disseminated and received........  _ i think i am asking a question about the dissemination of neuroaesthetic work and whether there is one..........And does the traffic work in this direction, or does it?    Or is the aesthetic reappropriation (stepping inside the projected VR_MRI and dancing in it, or dancing "ataxia" as Random Dance Company did a few years ago) a rather weak form of traffic, having next to nothing to do with Lucette's study of  the neural correlates of Hepatitis C infection neurocognitive impairment?  lotu5's projected durational immersive performance in Second Life sounds dangerous to me, on the other hand. i'd caution. 

lastly,  Anna Munster refered to "non-modeling"  (what would that be?) and to 

>>.. hearing Steve Kurtz ( from Critical Art Ensemble) saying once that he wasn't the least bit interested in whether scientists and artists actually had anything to offer each other's disciplines. What he believed was important in science-art collaboration was whether you shared a 'political' project with each other and that if you did, the alliance between science and art could become very powerful.>>

Can you think of such political projects that would leave the short-lived fashion of "neuroaesthetics" behind? 

Johannes Birringer
DAP- Lab

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