Silk NeuroArt Scarves: Inaugural Series (cont)

These are large-scale, 100% pure silk scarves, 140 x 140 cm (55 x 55 in). Given their size, they are more properly called wraps (skraistės in Lithuanian). The silk used is of the highest quality with silk twill weaving. The printing techniques are state of the art. 

For forty years I have been both a professional artist and a neurologist-neuroscientist. I have been artistically exploring the origins of thinking, of consciousness. How is it that we are aware of ourselves, of others? How is it that social interactions, culture and civilizations arise? Basically, what is it that makes us human? These silk NeuroArt scarves are the latest iteration of these artistic explorations. I am taking art off gallery and museum walls and bringing it out for the general public to use and enjoy.

All of these silk works of art, just as all my previous pieces, have multiple overlapping, interweaving layers of content, meaning and visual elements. Complexity of their design and content matches the complexity of our own thought processes.

SPIRITUAL PURITY

The original work was commissioned by the University of Chicago and was on canvas, three by seven meters in size. The underlying images dealt with the location of the origins of our Indo-European language and culture. I traveled to archeological sites where the Hittite empire flourished in central Turkey. The Hittite language is the oldest known Indo-European language. This piece, along with the accompanying “Veil”, were exhibited at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. This is a fitting exhibit location since this work deals with origins, cosmic, cultural, linguistic, and spiritual. 

 

SPIRITUALITY: MAZVYDAS

The text is taken from the 1561 Virbalis Inventory where all of the land holdings of Martynas Mažvydas was listed. His primary Lutheran parish was in Ragaine, but for eight years he, along with Tomas Gedkantas, administered to the religious needs of the city of Virbalis. The handwritten text is his name as it appears in this Inventory. Mažvydas is an extremely important historical figure in that he published the first book in the Lithuanian language. The underlying image of this piece is based on a photograph that I took of a temple excavated in the Roman city of Pompeii. 

 

ANCESTRAL RITES

The underlying image was taken during Sunday mass at the Pilviškiai church over three decades ago. The image was highly transformed, just as our own nervous system transforms visual images into networks of neuronal memories. The central horse-like head refers to my own father‘s desire to become a horse breeder.

 

FOREFATHERS

The text is taken from the 1561 Virbalis Inventory where the land holdings of all eight of the Plioplys families were listed. What is reproduced is the original handwritten text: this document is the first time that the Plioplys surname appears in history. It is from Virbalis that all of the subsequent Plioplys generations originate. The underlying green artwork is a neuronal transformation of a photograph of a Sunday church service at the Pilviškiai church which my father and forefathers attended.

 

REFUGE

The underlying image in this work is the outside window of where I lived during medical school at the University of Chicago. I sought refuge from the oppressive existence of my parents’ home at a Jewish home for the elderly. At Drexel Home I received room and board, in addition to a small stipend. In return I provided emergency medical services for the residents at night and on weekends. This when first I learned of the rich Lithuanian Jewish heritage.

 

FREEDOM / BEGINNINGS

The text is taken from the 1561 Virbalis Inventory where all of the land holdings of Tomas Gedkantas was listed. His primary Lutheran parish was in Širvintas, but for eight years he, along with Martynas Mažvydas, administered to the religious needs of the city of Virbalis. The handwritten text is his name as it appears in this Inventory. Gedkantas helped Mažvydas publish the first books in the Lithuanian language. As in the above piece, Refuge, he underlying image in this work is where I lived during medical school at the University of Chicago. I escaped from the oppressive existence of my parents’ home at a Jewish home for the elderly. In return I provided emergency medical services for the residents at night and on weekends. This when first I learned of the rich Lithuanian Jewish heritage.

 

PIANISSIMO

This sequence of works deals with the location of the storage of our memories. We have one hundred billion neurons in our brains, with trillions of synaptic interconnections. The current neurobiologic explanation for the site of our memories is changes in the strength of synaptic interconnections. I do not think that is a sufficient explanation. We must also look at the quantum molecular level, and even further down into the strings of string theory. Thus, the fine details of this piece include the fuzziness of the quantum world and the fine strings of string theory.