Art And Consciousness - Scribing The Soul At Science Oxford

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 07 April 2008
painting of a grid full of brain scan type images

© Susan Aldworth

Exhibition preview: Scribing the Soul at Science Oxford, until May 23 2008

A new exhibition at Science Oxford is using art to explore the inside of our heads, with paintings that try to represent consciousness.

Scribing the Soul features works by Susan Aldworth, who was first inspired by observing her own brain live on a monitor during a diagnostic scan in 1999.

Her ongoing fascination led her to collaborate with all manner of head specialists - doctors, neuroscientists, neuropsychologists – as well as other artists and musicians, to produce works that explore the interconnection between the physical brain and sense of self.

abstract painting with a bursting nucleus within an eye shape

© Susan Aldworth

Susan has looked at numerous brain scans in hospitals and undergone them herself in order to try and make sense of the material basis of personality. Her resulting works strikingly portray the intangible imagery of brain activity shown in scans, and creatively interpret the idea of synapses firing to create consciousness.

Recently, Susan has spent time with neuroscientist Dr Fiona Le Beau at the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University. Le Beau studies the activity, connections and networks in the cerebral cortex that are involved in cognitive processing and consciousness.

painting of a skull or x-rayed head

© Susan Aldworth

Observing Le Beau's work has been central to the development of Susan's new works, as has learning etching techniques from master etcher Nigel Oxley. With Nigel, Susan has developed a radical method utilising chemical processes analogous to those in the brain that might be responsible for personality.

Animations, digital prints and light installations by Susan are also on display.

Dominic McDonald, Head of Public Programmes at Science Oxford, said they were delighted to be working with Susan Aldworth, "one of the leading artists in Britain linking art and science through living experiences."

A series of events including talks on hypnosis, the teenage brain and Alzheimer's accompany the exhibition.

This is an exhibition preview. If you've been to see the show, why not let us know what you think?

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