The Mind as Matter

‘Parasagittal section of the cerebellum’ (Santiago Ramón y Cajal, 1894)

‘Brains: The mind as matter’ is a fantastic exhibition at the Wellcome Collection I urge you all to go to if you get the chance. The brain is, to me, without a doubt the sexiest human body part, and definitely one of the greatest achievements of nature. This is also why I ended up studying it for my first degree: how can this intricate little lump be responsible for human thought, intelligence, memory, locomotion, the greatest works of art and scientific discoveries of the world? Including Galen, Gall, and Galton, with others, it is fascinating to see how clinicians/scientists and artists throughout the ages have fused anatomy with art to create some of the pieces on display in the exhibition. In particular, the development in representing interconnected neurons from Cajal’s ink and paper drawings (my lecturers all gooey-eyed regarded him as a superhero) to using coral and jellyfish genes in a technique to colour different neurons according to their combination of proteins is astonishing. There’s also this really neat 3D hologram consisting of MRI, CT and ultrasound data at the exhibition, which certainly excited the HCI person in me. Quick, quick – catch it before the exhibition ends on June 17!

‘Brainbow Mouse’, digital photomicrograph (Jean Livet, Joshua R. Ranes, & Jeff Lichtman, 2007)

Further on the topic of brains, and other things, the lovely Frameless Gallery in Clerkenwell has this gorgeous exhibition entitled ‘Norwegian Contemporary: Group Exhibition’, arranged by ANSA (the Association of Norwegian Students Abroad). A friend of mine tipped me about it on Facebook, and she’s exhibiting some beautiful digital art pieces there. It’s rather interesting, because I’ve seen some of these as work-in-progress on Facebook, whilst it’s an entirely new experience seeing them complete and live on the wall. Art should definitely be seen in 3D to really appreciate its layers. Quite to my surprise, I also recognised another name amongst the exhibitors, a girl I took art classes with several years ago back in Gjøvik. Such a small world. This exhibition only lasts until tomorrow, so do hurry if you want to catch it.

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3 thoughts on “The Mind as Matter

  1. I wish I had the chance to go see it!
    The brain has always fascinated me as well, I’d really like to have an old anatomy poster of the brain to hang on my wall.

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