For a project that I'm currently working on with The Fabelist journal, called ‘Connect’, I’m currently researching the connections happening right under- or rather behind- our noses, in our brains.
For Connect I’ve been exploring the connections of nerves, pathways and neurological activity within the brain, and sensory perception. I’ve been looking at how the brain tracks where each part of the body is, and its sensory inputs and outputs. I’m particularly interested in the brain’s ‘body map’ of the senses; touch, and movement.
“Sensory perception is the stimuli a person takes in, processes and understands through their five senses: smell, sight, taste, touch and hearing.”
My personal interest in neuroscience was initially sparked from an injury a few years ago which damaged some of the nerves in my knee. This has developed into a chronic pain condition, where the nerves in my knee are continuously flared up and extremely sensitive to touch, heat and movement.
I’ve been interested in using my experience of pain and nerves within my art practice, and I’ve been really inspired by neuroscience from my physiotherapy and rehabilitation from injury.
So far in my Connect research I’ve found that our bodies are mapped in a particular area of neural tissue in the brain. The ‘body map’ within the brain is called the 'Homonculus'. This tissue is located across the crown of the brain, stretching from ear to ear.
There is one strip of tissue for sensory input, and one for controlling the motor movements. The brain is split down the center, with the left hemi-sphere controlling the right side of the body, and vice versa.
I really like this image of the Homonculus; I like the shape and idea of linking the images of the body parts, or as written words, in a semi-circle shape. I have an idea about possibly making a large metal ‘Homonculus’ sculpture, with lights at each part of the body, and a film playing simultaneously showing movements and touch sensations that link to the lights.
I’ve also started to experiment with manipulating some film footage, and editing the abstract moving images to look like neurological brain activity at work. I’d like to mirror the images properly, using two film projections side by side, creating new patterns to represent the activity and connections within the brain.