Metaphors for the Mind

Metaphors for the mind.

Do you have a metaphor or two or three for how the mind works? How do you imagine the activity that goes on?

I came across these videos of classes and then the website about mindmine, an installation occupying two floors of a warehouse and spreading in a bewildering continuum of rooms, tunnels and chambers, the Mind Mine installation became a maze-like structure emulating neural pathways within the human brain. I thought the work they did was so interesting and that the main installation was a wonderful metaphor.

Mind Mine, Mapping, Constructing and Loading the Installlation on Vimeo

Mind Mine, 60 Chidren creating drawings of neurons and though process on Vimeo

Mind Mine, Creating and explaining the brain cortex models on Vimeo

Mind Mine, Sensory Recognition Exercise on Vimeo

Mind Mine, Nerological / Electro Chemical signal – Maze Game on Vimeo

Mind Mine, Mapping and Constructing and Loading the Installation on Vimeo

Mind Mine is a cross-disciplinary arts and science project aiming to enhance children’s understanding of basic brain functions and neurological principles. Being unique in its subject matter and application, this experimental project created by artists Harriet Murray and Neil Taylor working in collaboration with Dr. Elaine Beattie, lecturer in Biopsychology at Goldsmiths University, was granted a Pulse Award by the Wellcome Trust.

"The finished installation proved to be much more than a mere physical representation of what the brain looks like and how it functions."
Dr. Elaine Beattie

"Surprising, thought provoking and very enjoyable. Made me feel like a child exploring and looking for the next surprise"

Occupying two floors of a warehouse and spreading in a bewildering continuum of rooms, tunnels and chambers, the Mind Mine installation became a maze-like structure emulating neural pathways within the human brain. The corridors were made of timber sheet perforated with hundreds of varying sized perforations, making the information stored in the ’brain’ – images, videos and objects – visible but not always accessible.

Mind Mine was meant to be a kinaesthetic analogue to the human brain and was modelled after its sections. For example, the audio cortex was located on both the left and the right side of the installation, each of them being represented by distinctive sounds: On one side the audience was invited to reach through several holes in the wall in order to play the keys of a piano. On the other side, a cinema showed the flash animations which generated the sounds of electro chemical activity within the brain.

A basic function of the installation was its constant modification and enrichment generated by the audience. Just as our brain gets filled with experiences and consciousness the older we get, the Mind Mine installation was gradually filled with drawings produced in the ‘drawing zones’ and hung on its walls by the audience. The movement of the audience inside the installation represented the manifestation of thought, and their journeys through the chambers (central nervous system) became the electro signals passing between neurons.

The experience inside the installation was unique to every visitor as it depended on the individual’s choices of direction. Eventually, the left and right part of the brain joined at a ladder in a central chamber, representing the spinal cord.

The ladder led up into another room reminiscent of the exit from a mine shaft during the 18th centuary gold rush. Emerging from the darkness of the labyrinth visitors travelled through into a gallery space, clean, bright and minimal in contrast to the intensity and interior of the installation. The arrival in this space was like opening your eyes after a dream, and presented visitors with a selection of artwork created during the workshops, including the source drawings used for the animations, early sculptures from the initial workshops and the body brain nerve drawings. At a table located in the middle of the room, visitors could document their responses on Mind Mine thought bubble sheet.

installation | mind mine | neuroscience art project for children | campbellworks london n16 uk

schools | mind mine | campbell works london uk

Metaphors for the Mind

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