Neuroscience & Art

This week we approach art making in a scientific light, beginning and ending with the functions of the brain.

In a fittingly mind-opening interview, academic veteran and author John Onians illustrates his methodology of applying modern developments in neuroscience to all stages of human art, from the paleolithic era up through American abstract expressionism. Neuroplasticity – the brain’s capacity to remodel its processing ability when exposed to thorough sensory input – may quite plausibly explain the origins of even the most nonrepresentational of art pieces. Onians posits that techniques like soft edges and coloristic textures derive from direct environmental stimuli – down to the shape of the regional stones or the hue of the water.

If you would like to expand your own neural pathways and generate art in the process, PXL-MAD in Belgium is offering the first English master program dedicated to the power of the lower senses – touch, taste, smell – in creating and characterizing context. The one year 60 ECTS program begins September 19th and ends in June.

Stemming from the ideology that artists should perpetually reimagine the forms and purposes of their output, PXL-MAD expects as much from its students as it provides. Split into two central components that balance theory with practice, the program offers a dynamic, communal, cross-disciplinary environment for self-guided art experimentation while exposing its students to theoretical texts, visiting exhibitions, and a series of lectures. Not only will artists be expected to produce a mature body of work, they will also need to understand the meaning of their craft within a larger, comparative context. A potent mixture of analysis and exposure furnishes students with valuable resources and connections and lets them know just where they stand in their newly created professional network.

The program takes place in Hasselt, Belgium, a prized landmark of fashion, shopping, theater, and music. Housing, library access, and social services are contained in the tuition. Contact Peter de Cupere to begin the application process.

As always, here are the links to the interview list and free resource page.

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