Daily question: Brains on the mind?

From The Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art:


This is the world’s largest extant collection of anatomically correct fabric brain art. Inspired by research from neuroscience, dissection and neuroeconomics, our current exhibition features three quilts with functional images from PET and fMRI scanning and a knitted brain. The artists are Marjorie Taylor and Karen Norberg. Techniques used include quilting, applique, embroidery, beadwork, knitting, and crocheting. Materials include fabric, yarn, metallic threads, electronic components such as magnetic core memory, and wire, zippers, and beads.

While our artists make every effort to insure accuracy, we cannot accept responsibility for the consequences of using fabric brain art as a guide for functional magnetic resonance imaging, trans-cranial magnetic stimulation, neurosurgery, or single-neuron recording.

In case you’re wondering about non-mushy brains, Bachy’s Figured Maple Brains:


I can produce figured wooden brains customized to reflect your abilities, research interests or particular features of your own brain, working from fMRI scans as DICOMS or NIFTI files.

What happens to “art” when it’s “scientifically accurate”?

4 thoughts on “Daily question: Brains on the mind?

  1. Ziad: “When something tickles so many parts of our brain, for so long, do we have to categorize it with dichotomous labels?”

    Fair question. I don’t think there’s a hard-wired answer to that one, but intentions do matter. Somewhat like the difference between “commercial” art produced to given specs in exchange for money and “personal” art done to gratify yourself. Whether it’s scientific accuracy or commercial considerations, this adds a distinct layer of constraints which dynamically changes the outcome.

  2. Art and science are very close. We only perceive and understand what we are capable of, which may be very different than the artistic vision, or the scientific hypothesis, expressed by the originator.

    Whether it was intended as art or science, we perceive what we perceive, and need both an artistic and scientific interpretation to improve our perception, interest, satisfaction and understanding.

    An example. I have neither seen nor touched a live, working human brain. I have seen all manner of artistic renderings, and scientific scans, and each has improved my understanding, and my ability to perceive new information.

    I spent a day this summer with a registered nurse at a Plastination exhibition. Pursuit of greater scientific accuracy or precision?

    The comments book at the end of the show showed a wide range of emotional responses normally triggered by visual arts, music, and sculpture.

    When something tickles so many parts of our brain, for so long, do we have to categorize it with dichotomous labels?

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