Author: Žarko Aleksić
Art as a dynamic pattern of activation of specific neural networks
For the last five years I have been intensively dealing with studies within the field of cognitive science, as well as the relation between cognitive science and art. During that period I realized several projects, one of which is States of Mind, where I was investigating how experience shapes our identity through neuroplasticity and episodic, semantic and procedural memory (constructing autobiographical self, Antonio Damasioʼs Self comes to Mind) using methodology of video dairy by Jonas Mekas and Joyice"s stream of consciousness.
Brain Pictures is a multidisciplinary research project connecting scientific methodologies and
knowledge with artistic practice simultaneously constructing the context for shifting the notion of
art producing, "art object" and art observing towards a new ideological framework based on
surveys in cognitive science. The ontological shift could be traced in the fact that an art work is
a certain activation of the patterns of neural networks that can be activated by external, internal
(or both) stimuli. This kind of understanding of art, where the observer plays a crucial role,
leads further to a set of ontological, epistemological, sociological, political and economic implications.
Other important issues raised by the exhibition also are of ethical nature and related to the use of technology, brain-machine interface and the possibility of monitoring other people"s thoughts endangering the subject"s privacy. My artistic practice consists in the double brain research – the first, scientific, so-called third person view and the second, a subjectivist- poetic first person view. Philosophical concept of Intentionality (the term refers to the ability of the mind to form representations and should not be confused with intention) play an important role, also. Another similar classification relates to the structure of the neural activities and phenomena that emerge from them.
Scans of my brain for the surveys, fMRI (functional magnetic resonance) has been done in Frankfurt and TMS (trans cranial magnetic stimulation) was made in Vienna.