With their project that shows the continuous connection that underpins the neuroscience of emotions and behavior, Carmine Pariante (Kings College London, UK) and Lynn Lu (Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Singapore/University of the Arts London, UK) won this year the Art of Neuroscience, an international competition for the best image / imagery in neuroscience.
Their entry called “For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, it might have been” is a metaphorical blood exchange that draws from Prof Pariante’s research at King’s College: blood inflammation in people affected by stress impacts the brain and reduces the birth of new neurons, thus inducing depressive symptoms.
Participants were invited to recount a significant personal regret. Lynn Lu transcribed it onto a sheet of vellum. She then pricked their finger and placed a drop of blood in a petri dish. In exchange, they were offered a shot of anti-inflammatory beet juice. Over the two days, the petri dishes filled with blood “inflamed” with lament while vials of detoxifying beetroot emptied one by one. Nearby speakers murmured layered verses of ‘what might have been’, while the wall behind them gradually filled with anonymous regrets collected from participants.
Honorable listings are there for “Spin Glass” made by Jenny Walsh, Kate Jeffery (UCL, UK) and Jeremy Keenan (Film by Kip Loads, UK). They made a representation of a head-direction network that is controlled by the head movements of an exploring mouse. Researcher Yishul Wei (Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience – KNAW) shows us the ‘Complex rhythm sustaining complex life’ in which an electrocardiogram (ECG) of an asleep healthy adult is shown. Carles Bosch Piñol of The Francis Crick Institute, London, UK, and Francesca Piñol Torrent of Escola Massana Art and Design Centre, Barcelona, Spain are displaying some hidden gems of the mammalian brain with their project ‘The fabric of thoughts’. They used woven fabric that show neuronal landscapes. Finally, Alwin Kamermans (Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit, the Netherlands) was praised for the entry “Human Astrocyte Cells”, a depiction of astrocytoma cells.
Art of Neuroscience was born in 2011 at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience as a competition for inspiring and provocative imagery from neuroscience labs. The goal has been to make the research from neuroscience labs more tangible, but also aims for scientists to evaluate their own work from a different perspective. In previous editions it has welcomed artists to also submit work inspired by the brain to stimulate the cross-over between neuroscience and art.
More submissions can be found on the website of the Art of Neuroscience.