Sunday, March 7, 2010

[Yasmin_discussions] Yasmin_discussions Digest, Vol 67, Issue 1 - Multisensory Perception, interactivity><brain plasticity

Dear Nina,

Yet more thanks for suggesting the topic! and thanks to all for this
fascinating discussion. Well, I am an artist, and for the last ten
years or more, I have been exploring different strands in media theory
and criticism, philosophy, cognitive science etc. trying to understand
the mysterious interplay between interactive digital technologies
(installations) and human consciousness. In my works and writings I
have been exploring various findings within the area of multisensory
(or so-called multi-modal) experiences.

In the last few years have I looked more closely at neuroscience,
where I quickly came across the field of brain plasticity. My work is
largely informed by Bach-y-Rita, as is Ted Krueger's work, and also by
his follower Michael Merzenich; I have also been influenced by Gerald
Edelman and some others from the broader field, and of course by good
old Merleau-Ponty in philosophy.

The concept of neuroaesthetics has recently attracted attention, and
this paradigm has opened an entirely new area in which both artists
and neuroscientists look at the neurobiological basis of creating and
experiencing the plastic arts. Mostly working within the scientific
concept of the visual brain, neuroaesthetics is strongly focused on
vision and static objects. But the area of contemporary artistic
practice that neuroaesthetics leaves unexplored is that of
multi-sensory experiences within the growing body of process-based
arts enabled by digital technologies, in particular interactive art.
As we all know, these art forms, engaging multiple senses, operate in
an entirely different conceptual, aesthetic, and methodological
framework from traditional plastic arts by substituting objects with
processes, and introducing a fundamental shift by replacing a passive
observer with an active participant in the act of collective creation
in network-based artistic concepts, or in an active role in the final
unfolding of an art work in an interactive installation.

So at Mutamorphosis in 2007, I presented my concept for what I called
neuroplastic arts. This was in a way a response to the concept of
neuroaesthetics, which I found problematical because, with all
mentioned above, to a great extent, it reduces artists to objects of
scientific investigation. That talk was followed by a number of other
presentations and articles, including a keynote at EVA London '09.
Perhaps I might contribute a couple of articles to the discussion:

Also, if you haven't read it already, I might suggest having a look at
Alva Noë's latest book (see the useful recommendation by Scientific
American at
The book challenges many current dogmas (but with an excellent sense
of humour), and, in my view rightly, dares to ask some difficult

My artistic practice is essentially linked to my writings. With my
multi-disciplinary team, I am currently working on an interactive
installation that will apply scientific knowledge about brain
plasticity to produce controllable effects on participants. The piece
has its origins in my previous work combining immunology with the
theme of the classical form of counterpoint, which was recently
featured in Nature Immunology It is
too soon to decide how all these elements should be managed to achieve
my aims, but it looks as if it is going to be a long and convoluted
I also blog (very irregularly) thoughts and writings relevant to the
meeting point of art and brain plasticity on my neuroplastic arts blog

best wishes


Yasmin_discussions mailing list

Yasmin URL:

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: click on the link to the list you wish to subscribe to. In the page that will appear ("info page"), enter e-mail address, name, and password in the fields found further down the page.

HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE: on the info page, scroll all the way down and enter your e-mail address in the last field. Enter password if asked. Click on the unsubscribe button on the page that will appear ("options page").

HOW TO ENABLE / DISABLE DIGEST MODE: in the options page, find the "Set Digest Mode" option and set it to either on or off.