brains

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Craft Science

A Scientifically Accurate Hand-Knit Sculpture of the Human Brain by Dr. Karen Norberg

December 5, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

In 2009, Psychiatrist Dr. Karen Norberg from the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts decided to create a fibrous doppelgänger of the human brain. Using different colored yarns she knit together the two-sided organ one and a half times its normal size, with a cerebellum and spinal cord attached at the end. Dr. Norberg told the Telegraph that the piece was a labor of love. For me, there were two humorous aspects,” she explained. “One was simply to undertake such a ridiculously complex, time consuming project for no practical reason. The second was the idea of making a somewhat mysterious and difficult object – a brain – out of a ‘cuddly,’ cheerful, familiar material like cotton yarn.”

Dr. Norberg created the individual parts of the brain, such as the brainstem and amygdala, before sewing the lightly colored pieces together in its final form. A comparison of the textile sculpture alongside scans from a real human brain can be seen in the image below. (via Women’s Art)

 

 



Art

The Mind Reimagined in Paper Brains by Elsa Mora

June 21, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Paper artist Elsa Mora (previously) contemplates the brain in a new series titled Mindscapes. The collection of eight paper works show birds-eye views of the brain, rendered in different techniques. Carefully layered grey dots, intricate nets of delicate floral designs, embossed squiggles, and colorful stripes that leap off the page all offer a different interpretation of the heady world that is our mind. Mora’s Mindscapes will be shown in her solo exhibition at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene, Oregon this fall. The show runs from August 29, 2018 to January 20, 2019. You can see more of the artist’s diverse array of paper art on Instagram.

 

 



Art

Melting Memories: A Data-Driven Installation that Shows the Brain’s Inner Workings

April 17, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Media artist Refik Anadol’s work Melting Memories combines data paintings, light projections, and augmented data sculptures to visibly demonstrate how the brain recalls memories. The installation was created with a custom 16 x 20 foot LED media wall and CNC milled rigid foam, and was shown earlier in 2018 at Pilevneli Gallery in Istanbul. In the work, seething swirls move across the work’s surface, resembling cresting ocean waves, blossoming flowers, and shifting sand.

To generate the data, Anadol conducted experiments at the Neuroscape Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. An artist statement describes the technical process: “Anadol gathers data on the neural mechanisms of cognitive control from an EEG (electroencephalogram) that measures changes in brain wave activity and provides evidence of how the brain functions over time. These data sets constitute the building blocks for the unique algorithms that the artist needs for the multi-dimensional visual structures on display.”

Anadol is a media artist and director who specializes in site-specific public art that explores the intersection of physical and digital reality. Born in Istanbul, the artist is now based in Los Angeles, where he is a visiting researcher and lecturer at UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts. You can see more of his work on his website, as well as on Instagram, Vimeo, and Behance.

 

 



Art Photography Science

An Intricate Cross-Section of the Brain Depicted With Thousands of Layers of Gold Leaf

April 17, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Self Reflected, 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The entire Self Reflected microetching under violet and white light. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected, 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The entire Self Reflected microetching under violet and white light. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Taking nearly two years to complete, artist and neuroscientist Dr. Greg Dunn, along with his collaborator Dr. Brian Edwards, have mapped the neurons in the brain for a series of images titled Self Reflected. Produced through a technique they call reflective microetching, the two cross-disciplinary artists track the neural choreography in the mind, creating brilliant images that glow with a metallic luminescence.

The works depict a thin slice of the human brain at 22x the normal scale, each created through a combination of hand drawing, neuroscientific data, algorithmic simulation of neural circuitry, photolithography, strategic lighting design, and 1,750 sheets of 22k gold leaf.

“My work is neonaturalist, art based on natural forms and influenced by scientific advancements that allows us to perceive the universe beyond human senses,” explains Dunn in his artist statement. “Neonaturalism harmonizes unfamiliar scientific imagery and techniques with an experimental artistic scaffolding.”

Self Reflected was funded the National Science Foundation, and its first iteration is on permanent view at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA. Fine art prints and microetchings can be purchased on Dunn’s website. You can watch the work twinkle as it engages with a light source in the short video below. (via My Modern Met)

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The brainstem and cerebellum, regions that control basic body and motor functions. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The brainstem and cerebellum, regions that control basic body and motor functions. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The thalamus and basal ganglia, sorting senses, initiating movement, and making decisions. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The thalamus and basal ganglia, sorting senses, initiating movement, and making decisions. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected, 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The entire Self Reflected microetching under white light. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected, 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The entire Self Reflected microetching under white light. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The visual cortex, the region located at the back of the brain that processes visual information.

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The visual cortex, the region located at the back of the brain that processes visual information.

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. Raw colorized microetching data from the reticular formation.

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. Raw colorized microetching data from the reticular formation.

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The pons, a region involved in movement and implicated in consciousness. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The pons, a region involved in movement and implicated in consciousness. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The parietal gyrus where movement and vision are integrated. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The parietal gyrus where movement and vision are integrated. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The motor and parietal cortex, regions involved in movement and sensation, respectively. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The motor and parietal cortex, regions involved in movement and sensation, respectively. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The midbrain, an area that carries out diverse functions in reward, eye movement, hearing, attention, and movement. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The midbrain, an area that carries out diverse functions in reward, eye movement, hearing, attention, and movement. (photo by Greg Dunn and Will Drinker)

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The laminar structure of the cerebellum, a region involved in movement and proprioception (calculating where your body is in space).

Self Reflected (detail), 22K gilded microetching, 96″ X 130″, 2014-2016, Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The laminar structure of the cerebellum, a region involved in movement and proprioception (calculating where your body is in space).

 

 



Design Illustration Science

Stackable Brain Specimen Coasters Reveal a 3D View of the Human Brain

April 22, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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The brilliant minds at ThinkGeek just launched this set of 10 glass coasters printed with sequential illustrations of the brain. When stacked in the correct order they reveal a complete three-dimensional “scan” of human brain. Available here. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Photography

High Speed Photos of Combusting Alcohol Look like X-Rays of the Human Brain

February 28, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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The plume from an exploding bomb. Black and white flowers. X-Rays of a human brain cortex. These all seem like valid guesses when looking at this new series of photos by Fabian Oefner (previously here, here, here), but the truth is more amazing: it’s fire. To create the photos Oefner added a few drops of alcohol into a large glass vessel and waited for the fumes to fill the void. He then ignited the gas and managed to capture these fleeting images as the fire consumed the interior of the vessel. You can see more plus a brief video here.

 

 



Food Illustration

Brains Made of Toothpaste, Newspaper and Food by Kyle Bean

May 2, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Designer Kyle Bean (previously here and here) just finished this fun series of brains for Men’s Health magazine. Bean is known for his handcrafted commercial and editorial work for a number of large brands involving set design, sculpture, and illustration. Portfolios don’t get much more fun than his.