Warren Neidich / Lecture

11/11/2014

 “Autonomous Artists”

 

I felt quite lost in this lecture, it was more focused on the theory in Art and research and was really scientific which I didn’t connect or engage with.

The lecture began with Neidich expressing that he was put off by the idea of ‘Artist Research’ and that he wanted to explain why it’s not “boring” and why we as students are important.

He then showed various magazine covers; Scientific America – “better brains”; Consumer Neuroscience, New York Times, “Resistance is futile”. He then expressed that we are a society of attention – and that we need it to thrive, this lead me to think that Neidich is clearly influenced about the brain and how the mind works, how and why we think, something that he was very clearly passionate about.

Neidich then went onto showing one of his projects, “Glossary of cognitive activism”, which sculptures using light – fluorescent tubes the he were shaped into diagrams that resembled the mind and his research. He uses diagrams a lot in his work as he believes ‘they are a lot more understood now” –especially with the new era of internet, where everything is simplified and easier to understand. The sculptures were visually interesting and very unique looking, especially due to having such a ‘fun’ material like neon along with quite an informative design, actually worked and really plays on the fact that diagrams are easy to understand.

("Glossary of Cognative Capatalism" piece called 'Duende Diagram' -2014- from the exhibition The Cartography of the Mind’s I at Barbara Seiler Gallery, Zurich  - neon light diagram piece - described above)
(“Glossary of Cognative Capatalism”
piece called ‘Duende Diagram’ -2014- from the exhibition The Cartography of the Mind’s I at Barbara Seiler Gallery, Zurich
– neon light diagram piece – described above)

The lecture then became more theoretical, discussing how we shaped our minds from childhood. ‘Neural Plasticity’-  a term that validates and improves us as artists. Neidich then went onto explain that 40% of our brain is ‘wired up’ as a child, meaning it has already been sculpted, the remaining 60%- the ‘Neural Plasticity’, is to be sculpted by our culture, surroundings and ‘situationism’. We were then shown the diagram below, comparing a kittens brain to a fully grown cats brain. I found this really interesting and actually quite thought provoking, how we begin to sculpt our own brains as we are children – really fascinating.

(The image that Neidich showed on screen in the lecture comparing a kittens brain(left) and a fully grown cats brain(right))
(The image that Neidich showed on screen in the lecture comparing a kittens brain(left) and a fully grown cats brain(right))

Neidich then presented another one of his projects called “Art Pallet”, where he focused on how our culture/where we live affects our brains. For this he presented 6 English people with the same painting, 10 tubes of paint and a pallet, he then asked them to mix the colours they see in the painting, as thought they were going to replicate the painting, like a colour vision test. The result of this was a variety of unique pallets, yet they all had similar tones. He then used the pallets and presented them as paintings in their own rights, for his projects. After the first experiment, Neidich then went onto do the same experiment in different countries, including China- he did the same test in each country, each pallet produced in each place was unique but they all had similar tones, but overall each country had very different outcomes. This project was an experiment to prove how our situationism can even effect how we see colour-another very interesting project from Neidich that was again quite thought provoking.

(An image from Warren Neidich's project "Art Pallet")
(An image from Warren Neidich’s project “Art Pallet”)

Overall, I thought the lecture was really quite interesting, as it started I was quite sceptical that it was going to be very theoretical and scientific, which in all honesty threw me slightly but in fact it was genuinely interesting, and a surprise from my first thoughts when going into the lecture. I came out of the lecture really impressed, even though his work was more focused of making a statement, about research and knowledge-but his artwork was also really effective alongside the theoretical aspect.

http://www.warrenneidich.com/

//Images from:

1st – http://www.warrenneidich.com/duende-diagram-2014-from-the-exhibition-the-cartography-of-the-minds-i-barbara-seiler-gallery/
2nd – http://www.aruffo.com/eartraining/graphics/phase05/catbrain.jpg
3rd – http://img.ymlp.com/1pxj_WarrenNeidichEducationberlin_2.jpg

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