18 June, 2008

Susan Aldworth - Scribing the Soul

I took Rocky to an art gallery for the first time today. The new university arts building has a public gallery and they are currently showing an exhibition called 'Scribing the Soul' by Susan Aldworth.

It was quite strange to be in a gallery again. The last time I was in a gallery was last July. It's been a while and it took some time to acclimatise to decide whether I liked what I saw.

I think that i decided i did. Susan Aldworth paints and makes videos about the brain and consciousness. Her basic point, after studying lots of brain scans and working with neurologists is that you can't pin down people's identity by just looking at the science, however amazing the science is. A brain scan, for instance, can tell you nothing about memory, or tastes, or character. However, all those things can be profoundly affected if the brain is damaged or the chemical reactions inside it altered.

Perhaps naturally, the work that is on display is abstract. It trys to layer on projections of self or of metaphors for thoughts and chemical reactions in the brain on to brain scans. I liked it because not only were the visuals good, but it met one of my personal criteria for good art, which is that it has to say something and say it well.

You can read more about Susan Aldworth and look at her work here or watch the video below which is part of the exhibition in the gallery.

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