Just in case you missed us at the Rag Factory last week here’s a quick look at what happened.
Last Thursday the Art Neuro exhibition and workshops opened at the Rag Factory in East London. Months of hard work culminated in a unique and thought-provoking collection of 16 artworks depicting an array of current neuroscience research.
Artists from all manner of disciplines partnered up with researchers to create original pieces communicating the science that inspired them. A truly mixed media show, collaborations included a comic strip depicting the life of research bees as they battle with nicotine addiction, an arresting light installation of traumatic brain injury, and a documentary on a study of the effects of LSD in humans, the first ever research of its kind in the UK. An example of the dedication of the Art Neuro artists was Sam Burrough’s animation of the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The artist painstakingly drew each one of the 200 frames in his piece, which included his own custom Photoshop brushes made from electron microscopy images of amyloid-beta plaques.
Over the four days at the Rag Factory, Art Neuro included a number of workshops, all designed for people to engage with research and all things brain. What better way to understand the building blocks of the nervous system then by knitting your own woolly neurons, or taking a whirlwind tour of millions of years of brain evolution by screen-printing brain images?
Art Neuro sought to explore the more immediate and serious effects of neuroscience and psychology research through a mental health panel discussion and memory workshop. The panel discussion heard the distinct opinions of four very different experts on medication, psychoanalysis and the emotional nature of their work. The memory workshop led by psychologist Fiona Gabbert examined the role played by memory in the criminal justice. A few simple exercises showed the fallibility of human memory and case studies of real court trials revealed the harrowing effects of our heavy reliance on eyewitness testimony.
Art Neuro aims to bridge the gaps between the public and research, between art and science, and show that the ideas that art and science are disparate, and that science is a boring impenetrable fortress of complexity are nothing more than common misconceptions, easily dispelled. A quote from Art Neuro artist Kate Hughes encapsulates this perfectly:
“There’s an assumption often made that scientists and artists are different species – for me, we’re both problem solvers, enquiring minds exploring a common humanity and trying to communicate what we’ve discovered.”