THE
GREAT
RAVELLED
KNOT

What do images of the brain tell us about the history of consciousness? And our ideas about the mind?

How has art influenced the sciences of the mind? And vice versa?

How can history contribute to the scientific exploration of the brain?

Can a dialogue between artists, humanists, and scientists lead to novel understandings in this realm?

This is what I'm wondering about.

Angela Richardson
MFA student
Department of Art
UW - Madison

"Anatomy of the victim”

Gruesome…but also oh SO incredible! The top and bottom images are from a Japanese makimono (pictorial scroll) dated 1842 and ominously titled, Anatomy of the victim. Author: Midori. Artist: Hayashi Yushi.

"This makimono, representing the dissection of the body of a convict, is a copy of an original work dated 1796." Source: BIU.

In the center image on the left side are Andreas Vesalius’ drawings of the same dissection, published in De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543.) On the right side are images from Juan Valverde de Hamusco’s Historia de la composicion del cuerpo humano (1556.) Those illustrations were unauthorized copies of Vesalius’ drawings. Source: Neurology.

I wonder about how and when these images traveled between the East and West. What happens as the visual culture of brain science work its way through cultures and across time?

Reblogged from bodyandlight  159 notes
Beautiful. I tried sourcing it beyond Gallica digital library of the National Library of France (as is noted at the bottom of the image) without any luck. I’d love to know when and where it was originally published.
Of course, searching for a particular image inevitably leads to many others…I could not resist the rabbit hole of the Gallica’s Image Bank. The digital collection of the BnF is quite a resource! More to come.

Beautiful. I tried sourcing it beyond Gallica digital library of the National Library of France (as is noted at the bottom of the image) without any luck. I’d love to know when and where it was originally published.

Of course, searching for a particular image inevitably leads to many others…I could not resist the rabbit hole of the Gallica’s Image Bank. The digital collection of the BnF is quite a resource! More to come.

Reblogged from quantumeverything  3 notes

15,000 volts

In this transfixing video, artist Melanie Hoff sends an electrical current through wood to create beautiful, expanding fractal patterns. 15,000 volts is what we’re looking at here. Our brains operate at about 100 millivolts (or 0.1 volts.)

But these images do spark the imagination. They bring to mind neural networks, in-progess as Kara so poetically observes below.

karagintherleatherstudio:

I find this intriguing, particularly the connection of two growing feeling stretching pathways. 

What about our own voltage?  What about our brains, the pulses and zaps that create our realities? What about neurons and synapses and the fact that our insides precisely mimic the outside?

What better way to see and know the power of our connections, beliefs, and revelations? 

What better way to understand the strength of conviction, focus, integrity and knowing?

Reblogged from neuromorphogenesis  605 notes
"People close to us become a part of ourselves"
Is this an interpersonal variation on the Hebbian theory (“neurons that fire together, wire together”)? People that spend time together, link minds together? So it seems…
neuromorphogenesis:

To The Human Brain, Me Is We
A new study from University of Virginia researchers supports a finding that’s been gaining science-fueled momentum in recent years: the human brain is wired to connect with others so strongly that it experiences what they experience as if it’s happening to us.
This would seem the neural basis for empathy—the ability to feel what others feel—but it goes even deeper than that. Results from the latest study suggest that our brains don’t differentiate between what happens to someone emotionally close to us and ourselves, and also that we seem neurally incapable of generating anything close to that level of empathy for strangers.
To find this out, researchers had to get a bit medieval. They had participants undergo fMRI brain scans while threatening to give them electrical shocks, or to give shocks to a stranger or a friend.  Results showed that regions of the brain responsible for threat response – the anterior insula, putamen and supramarginal gyrus – became active under threat of shock to the self; that much was expected. When researchers threatened to shock a stranger, those same brain regions showed virtually no activity. But when they threatened to shock a friend, the brain regions showed activity nearly identical to that displayed when the participant was threatened.
“The correlation between self and friend was remarkably similar,” said James Coan, a psychology professor in U.Va.’s College of Arts & Sciences who co-authored the study. “The finding shows the brain’s remarkable capacity to model self to others; that people close to us become a part of ourselves, and that is not just metaphor or poetry, it’s very real. Literally we are under threat when a friend is under threat. But not so when a stranger is under threat.”
The findings back up an assertion made by the progenitor and popularizer of “Interpersonal Neurobiology,” Dr. Daniel Siegel, who has convincingly argued that our minds are partly defined by their intersections with other minds. Said another way, we are wired to “sync” with others, and the more we sync (the more psycho-emotionally we connect), the less our brains acknowledge self-other distinctions.
Research in this category also dovetails nicely with that conducted by evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar, whose work has shown that we seem to have evolved to cognitively connect in relatively small groups of roughly 150 or less people (often referred to as “Dunbar’s Number”).  Beyond that number, our brains strain to sync with others. From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes a lot of sense because chances of survival for ourselves and the group are amplified if we can devote the greatest level of cognitive resources to the task.
“A threat to ourselves is a threat to our resources,” said Coan. “Threats can take things away from us. But when we develop friendships, people we can trust and rely on who in essence become we, then our resources are expanded, we gain. Your goal becomes my goal. It’s a part of our survivability.”
The study appears in the August issue of the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

"People close to us become a part of ourselves"

Is this an interpersonal variation on the Hebbian theory (“neurons that fire together, wire together”)? People that spend time together, link minds together? So it seems…

neuromorphogenesis:

To The Human Brain, Me Is We

A new study from University of Virginia researchers supports a finding that’s been gaining science-fueled momentum in recent years: the human brain is wired to connect with others so strongly that it experiences what they experience as if it’s happening to us.

This would seem the neural basis for empathy—the ability to feel what others feel—but it goes even deeper than that. Results from the latest study suggest that our brains don’t differentiate between what happens to someone emotionally close to us and ourselves, and also that we seem neurally incapable of generating anything close to that level of empathy for strangers.

To find this out, researchers had to get a bit medieval. They had participants undergo fMRI brain scans while threatening to give them electrical shocks, or to give shocks to a stranger or a friend.  Results showed that regions of the brain responsible for threat response – the anterior insula, putamen and supramarginal gyrus – became active under threat of shock to the self; that much was expected. When researchers threatened to shock a stranger, those same brain regions showed virtually no activity. But when they threatened to shock a friend, the brain regions showed activity nearly identical to that displayed when the participant was threatened.

“The correlation between self and friend was remarkably similar,” said James Coan, a psychology professor in U.Va.’s College of Arts & Sciences who co-authored the study. “The finding shows the brain’s remarkable capacity to model self to others; that people close to us become a part of ourselves, and that is not just metaphor or poetry, it’s very real. Literally we are under threat when a friend is under threat. But not so when a stranger is under threat.”

The findings back up an assertion made by the progenitor and popularizer of “Interpersonal Neurobiology,” Dr. Daniel Siegel, who has convincingly argued that our minds are partly defined by their intersections with other minds. Said another way, we are wired to “sync” with others, and the more we sync (the more psycho-emotionally we connect), the less our brains acknowledge self-other distinctions.

Research in this category also dovetails nicely with that conducted by evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar, whose work has shown that we seem to have evolved to cognitively connect in relatively small groups of roughly 150 or less people (often referred to as “Dunbar’s Number”).  Beyond that number, our brains strain to sync with others. From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes a lot of sense because chances of survival for ourselves and the group are amplified if we can devote the greatest level of cognitive resources to the task.

“A threat to ourselves is a threat to our resources,” said Coan. “Threats can take things away from us. But when we develop friendships, people we can trust and rely on who in essence become we, then our resources are expanded, we gain. Your goal becomes my goal. It’s a part of our survivability.”

The study appears in the August issue of the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

A peek inside your head

Here’s another post of BRAIN and MIND drawings from the August Drawing Jam in WID's Image Lab. What was the assignment? Draw your brain, then draw your mind. The results were fascinating.

Another opportunity to draw in the company of others is coming up on Saturday, Sept. 7th. Join Lynda Barry, cartoonist, Discovery Fellow and assistant professor for a Drawing Jam for KIDS!

The event is a part of Saturday Science, a monthly program at the Discovery Building on the UW-Madison campus. This Drawing Jam is intended for children. All adults must be accompanied by a child!

It’s all happening at the Image Lab, first floor, northwest corner of Discovery Building (Town Center level) on Sat 9/7 from 10am-12pm.

Photos by P. Andrews and A. Richardson. Drawings by visitors of the Image Lab.

My mind’s got a mind of its own

More photos from our recent Drawing Jam in WID's Image Lab during Science Saturday at the Discovery Building at UW-Madison. Hosted by Angela Richardson (MFA Grad Student, Department of Art) and Lynda Barry (Assistant Prof in Interdisciplinary Creativity.)

Assignment: Draw your brain, then draw your mind.

The drawing jam resulted in 100+ drawings which are now on exhibit at the Image Lab. They fill every window from top to bottom!

Photos by M. English, L. Barry, and A. Richardson.

Reblogged from brain-smudge  92,052 notes

Dancing as drawing, drawing as dancing

Still pondering the relationship between movement and thought. Ideas flow in both directions from the head to the hands…and from the hands to the head.

devidsketchbook:

EMPTIED GESTURES BY HEATHER HANSEN

LA, New Orleans-based Artist Heather Hansen (tumblr) - "Emptying Gestures is an experiment in kinetic drawing. In this series, I am searching for ways to download my movement directly onto paper, emptying gestures from one form to another and creating something new in the process."

Photos by Bryan Tarnowski 

Reblogged from wnycradiolab  23,431 notes

Does moving equal thinking?

Is it possible that we move as a way of forming thoughts - rather than moving as a result of thinking? Isn’t this what we’re doing when we gesture? And sometimes when we dance and draw?

wnycradiolab:

likeafieldmouse:

Dennis Oppenheim - Two-stage Transfer Drawing (1971)

"As I run a marker along Eric’s back he attempts to duplicate the movement on the wall. My activity stimulates a kinetic response from his sensory system. I am, therefore, drawing through him"

Fascinating.