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Brain images display the beauty and complexity of consciousness

June 18, 2017

This is what consciousness looks like – but these aren’t brain scans. Neuroscientist-turned-artist Greg Dunn created the art, aided by artist and physicist Brian Edwards, largely by hand, and using a special etching technique. “The piece was designed to be an unprecedented image of the brain,” says Dunn of his project, titled Self Reflected.

The main image (above) depicts the visual cortex. The others (below) show, from the top: the thalamus and basal ganglia (which govern our senses, movement and decision-making), the cerebellum (which oversees movement and proprioception – an awareness of one’s own body), the parietal gyrus (which integrates movement and vision) and the brainstem and cerebellum (which handle movement and proprioception plus basic functions such as breathing)..

To create the artworks, Dunn first collected reams of information on the human brain, including scans and detailed depictions of neurons, and how they connect to each other. He used these as inspiration for hand drawings on transparent sheets.

Working with Edwards, Dunn fed these drawings through a computer model that mimics how neurons communicate with each other, simulating the movement of signals throughout the brain. The pair then printed the resulting patterns using a technique that etches layers of gold leaf.

As a result, the images appear to come to life as light moves across them, highlighting different layers of neurons and the flow of information between them. “We’re demonstrating the depth and breadth of neural activity that allows us to go about our existence,” says Dunn.

NS link.

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