Unpacking the Brain

The atmosphere of this installation captures something that struck me on my first visit to the Gazzaley Lab: the still formality of the building houses intensely lively, active discovery or “unpacking.” I was also inspired by the subtleties of the language that neuroscientists use. Reading Wais’s papers, I discovered that the different words we use to talk about “memory” could reflect the activity of different neural networks in the brain. [continues below]


Unpacking the Brain, 2014. Mixed media installation with video, dimensions variable.

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For example, being “familiar” with something is different from “remembering” it. A bucket and a ball were two of the iconic images in the memory tests I observed; in the installation they can be experienced as present objects, as images that have lost the rich detail of the objects, as recognizable parts of something unfamiliar, and finally, merged and transformed into a wholly abstract image. This cycle is accompanied by a video conversation with Dr. Wais, conceived as part of the installation, in which we use the installation to trigger an exchange about his research.