Mirror Neurons (with France Jobin, xx+xy visuals)
A×S [ak-sis] is a two-week citywide festival produced by Pasadena Arts Council that explores the nexus of artistic and scientific inquiry, promoting experimentation and cross-fertilization between these disciplines. This interplay between scientific investigation and artistic risk-taking reflects a cultural zeitgeist that illuminates the richness and diversity of human aspiration in the 21st century.
Curated by Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand, the ArtScience Interfaculty and Synergetica Lab present a series of multi-sensory performances and installations in the context of synthetic biology. Founded in 2006 in The Netherlands, Synergetica is an art-science laboratory, investigating photonics, fluid dynamics, acoustics, quantum chemistry and psychophysics.
The Cocky Eek’s Spæræ is an inflatable pavilion, a component of an ongoing strand of research by architect Eek into the pneumatology and tactility of inflatables and lightweight spaces. Developed in partnership with Synergetica Lab in Amsterdam and the Artscience Interfaculty program in The Hague, SPHAERAE consists of five semi-transparent bubbles of different sizes, which together form a multi-dome construction designed for immersive, synaesthetic experience.
Mirror neurons represent a distinctive class of cells that fire both when an animal executes an action and when it observes another individual performing the same action. Discovered by Italian neurophysiologist Giacomo Rizzolatti and his team at the University of Parma while doing a research on the neural representation of motor movements in monkeys, the precise function and influence of these neurons has become one of the most important topic in neuroscience. They have been linked to many behaviours and abilities, from empathy to learning by imitation and language acquisition, as well as implicated in conditions such as autism and other brain disorders. These findings suggest that the mirror neuron system plays a key role in our ability to experience empathy.
Initiated by sound artists France Jobin and Fabio Perletta, Mirror Neurons is a media-project investigating the notion of empathy and physical distance. The entire album is the result of extended sound files exchange between Montréal (Canada) and Roseto degli Abruzzi (Italy). Each of the pieces is based on rough sounds and their consequent re-working, listening and reaction, processing and imitation. The ongoing process helped artists to draw inspiration in terms of stimuli for the act of composing itself in two very distant cities, different climate, time zones and languages.
Like much of Jobin and Perletta’s recent works, Mirror Neurons explores the artists’ interest in intersection between science and art, as well as the infinitely small and invisible. In order to further develop the concept of distance/connectivity, visual artists XX+XY from Rome have been involved in the process. They created a multi-dimensional, generative and ever-changing sound visualization through the use of quiet textures and subtle movements emphasizing the slowed sense of time of the work itself. Thought to be performed live in a big space, the video aims to create an immersive environment and a unique occasion to reflect about the behaviour of our emotions and the importance of human interaction.
“Mirror neurons will do for psychology what DNA did for biology”
— Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, neuroscientist
Projector, Sound System
Duration: 16'34'', loop
Artists: Dmitry Gelfand & Evelina Domnitch, Yann Novak, Steve Roden, Mike Harding (Touch), Richard Chartier + William Basinski, Paul Prudence + Francisco Lopez, Mattia Casalegno, Bas van Koolwijk, Jet Smits, Martijn van Boven
A×S [ak-sis] Festival 2014: Curiosity
Cocky Eek’s Spæræ
25 September 2014
Curators Robert Crouch, Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand
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