The hippocampus is essential in memory processing. The pattern for the wall and ceiling installation is based on drawings of the human cerebral cortex, made by the Nobel prize winning neuroscientist, Ramon y Cajal, more than a century ago. The installed pieces are “thought fragments” which incorporate neuronal profiles, my own art works visually transformed, along with images of my own MRI brain scans and electroencephalograms while thinking various artistic topics. In many of these fragments, pieces of words emerge, just as our own verbal thought processes emerge from web-works of neuronal activity.
The wall installation, Hippocampal Memory, is 13 x 32 feet in size (over 400 square feet) and the cylindrical conduit along the ceiling is almost 80 feet long, for an additional 240 square feet of interacting neurons. In this exhibit, the conduit serves as a metaphor for neuronally based information, which flows in and out of the hippocampus, to memory storage sites throughout the cerebral cortex. The hippocampus serves a central role in organizing memory storage.
It is in reference to our memories, our experiences, our self-reflections, that we as cognizant human beings emerge. In the wall installation, I purposefully designed a pair of “dancing neurons” performing a tango, and a joyful “swinging neuron” enjoying the moment. These details were included because this is not simply an illustration of neuronal networks, rather this is a denotation of us as human beings, enjoying life, enjoying others, engaged in social activities. It is because of these neurons, and the memories contained therein, that we emerge as individuals and as social beings.
With special thanks to Barbara Stafford for organizing this exhibit, and to Faraz Kamili for his assistance during the installation.
The Neuro-Salon exhibit is from April 11 through May 4, 2012, Stubbins Studio Gallery, East Architecture Building, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia.