into the human mind
“While we tend to conceive of the operations of the mind as unified and transparent, they're actually chaotic and opaque. There's no invisible boss in the brain, no central meaner, no unitary self in command of our activities and utterances. There's no internal spectator of a Cartesian theater in our heads to applaud the march of consciousness across its stage."
The mind is a collection of abilities such as thinking, imagination, memory, intention, and sensation. These are responsible for sensory, propositional, intentional, conscious, or occurring events such as perception, belief, passion, purpose, and emotion.
Modern views see mind and matter as two separate entities where the matter is reducible to only physical aspects such as neuronal activity, while the mind is nonbiological and intangible.
IMMATTER begins from these considerations and evolves its design trying to see this dualism as an opportunity to make physicality and mentality communicate with each other and use this relationship as a way to travel inside of both and unfold each characteristic.
“Everything that we perceive - consciously or unconsciously - is a construction of the brain.” Anil Seth
IMMATTER is an art installation that took place at ESPRONCEDA Institute of Art & Culture in Barcelona. Designed to be an immersive introduction to the theme of the exhibition, to work as the artists's artworks setting and navigation path, and to embrace the principles of the New European Bauhaus, which wanted to translate the Green Pact into a cultural experience, centered on inclusivity, sustainability, and creativity. Inspired by these pillars, IMMATTERS was made with biodegradable black plastic and designed to be accessible, and encourage the dialogue between diverse cultures and disciplines giving an opportunity to learn from each other, enriching and responding to needs beyond the material dimension.
The experience “into the human mind” starts with a deep physical dive inside the gray matter. Two inflatable balloons represent the left and right hemispheres of the brain, the person has to find their way in between them in order to get in the fulcrum of the exhibition.
We decided to make the inside of the right balloon accessible to become another creative and performative scenario to highlight its artistic attributes and better differentiate it from the other side.
The gallery space is organized through green ropes interconnections mediated by bricks that artists and audience can move as much as they want to create always different paths. In this scenario, the bricks represent the neurons and the green ropes the neuro-pathways (synapses) that can mutate as a result of outside inputs or the generation of a new idea. By placing some contact microphones on the green ropes, every person's interaction with them produces a sound and affects the lights of the environment. This shows the mutuality of a dialog that at a first glance looks passively experienced by the nervous system, but that in fact generates a reaction that both modifies the internal world and influences the external environment.
This installation hosted and showcased various performers' and artists' works. The result was a synergy of different and unique points of view of the human mind. The performers selected and replicated specific audiences' movements to focus on the mirror neurons' activity. Some artworks experimented with the concept of dreams, imagination, and unconscious, another with the concept of memory and intention, other artworks were about sensory and perception of self and others. At the very end of the gallery, we also exhibited a sculpture that synthesized all the concepts materializing the mind and its matter.
“We don't just passively perceive the world. We actively generate it. The world we experience comes as much, if not more, from the inside out as from the outside in.” Anil Seth
Co-ideation and co-production: Andria Nicolaou, Javier Serena and Lucía Redondo
Sound design: Mathieu Preux and Daniel Cabanzo
Video edit: Ayberk Çelik