Consciousness Defined

There are fourteen slide projectors used in this installation. The images are photomicrographs of mouse cortical brain sections which I prepared twelve years ago in my neuroscience research laboratory and recently photographed. They are reproduced in this catalogue. The slide projectors are suspended from near the ceiling with the images appearing on the walls, floor, structural support columns, furniture and the viewer. They are projected onto multivaried strata similar to the multivaried cerebral cortical neuronal strata onto which sensory inputs are projected.

The sound projection is repeating audiotape in which a sentence has been reproduced by re-recording it sequentially between two different tape recorders. The audiotaped message reverbrates within itself, back and forth, much as memory traces in the cerebral cortex do. Recollections involve the repetition and reprocessing of neural interactions. A memory trace from one cortical area is projected to another, and from there to another one yet, recurrently, each time with a further addition and elaboration of sensory qualities and emotional affects. Eventually the reverberation of memory returns to where it started, it returns to consciousness.

The premier showing of this installation was at the Balzekas Museum, in Chicago, February 27 to April 12, 1998. This show was also installed at the art galleries of Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, September 4 – 18, 1998.

The images illustrated here were taken from the 14 slides that were projected during the installations.