Laboratoire espace cerveau - Retour sur Gianni Colombo & Paul Sharits


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Since its creation in 2009, the Laboratoire espace cerveau, initiated by Ann Veronica Janssens and Nathalie Ergino, Director of the Institut d’art contemporain, taking the field of art experimentation as its starting point, has questioned practical and theoretical research that allows the creation of links between space, time, body and brain.

Interdisciplinary in nature, this project brings together thinking and experiences from artists and researchers in the humanities and physical sciences (anthropologists, astrophysicists, art historians, neurophysiologists), covering progress in neurosciences and astrophysics along with current practises in hypnosis and shamanism...
In preparation of a new research cycle that will begin next Autumn, starting with Station (1)0, this Summer the space brain Laboratory will present a review of the different research done between 2009 and 2014. Being units dedicated to exploration, the stations of the Laboratoire espace cerveau are made up of study days concerned with are the study of artworks, whether they unfold in situ, or ex situ, as with the Centre Pompidou-Metz in 2012.

From its very origins, the laboratory has based its work upon space itself, on the one hand as a possible vector of artistic fact, on the other hand as an extension of the eye, the brain and the body, out as far as the cosmos. How to deal with a world wherein our understanding of space has shifted, beginning with the advent of general relativity and, more recently, quantum physics, from a euclidian vision to a space as yet undefined? The Laboratoire thus proposes to bring together different research work, from the phenomenological dimension of specific artistic propositions.
Beyond the opticokinetic works of the fifties and sixties, the principal of the Flicker (or blinking lights) is seen here more from the point of view of a Brion Gysin and his Dreamachine, as much for its creative dimension as for the inter-relational aspect that it suggests. This overwhelming of visual perception is exaggerated by the colourful mists of Ann Veronica Janssens, spaces of immersive lights capable of provoking a global physical experience such as an experience of the infinite that can be “touched”.
As for Matt Mullican, it is through the practise of hypnosis that he approaches the cosmic dimension of the environment, which then drives him to create his own cosmology.

Starting from the field of art, the different contributions of these nine stations have examined the mechanisms of perception, whether it be a matter of spatialisation, loss of bearings or modified states of consciousness. Reinforced by recent progress made in the fields of neuroscience and astrophysics, along with developments in anthropological and philosophical thinking, they have dealt notably with notions of the body in action, proprioception, topo-kinesthetics, and empathy. A redefinition of our relationship with space, a sensitive and dynamic experience of the world and newer modes and approaches have been obtained in this way, upsetting the traditional oppositions of body / mind, man / world, conscious / subconscious, material / immaterial, rationality / intuition...

With works by Gianni Colombo and Paul Sharits, the Laboratory revisits “in practice” questions raised throughout the different stations.

Gianni Colombo creates spaces that aim to deconstruct space, by disturbing the visitor's centre of gravity, and also by unbalancing it with the help of luminous and mobile devices and systems. Reinforcing corporeal acuity, the variations and elasticity of Colombo's universe create the impression of an expanding space.

The films of Paul Sharits, like events composed of colourful lights, amplify pure visual effects to the point of creating immersive environments. The impact on the retina of a succession of stills creates a pulsating virtual volume. This “expanded cinema” substitutes the sensorial presence of the projection for the illusion of the image.

Beginning with station 1(0), the space brain Laboratory proposes to base itself on a perception that is “extended”, taking into account the interrelationships between man and his environment, his relationship with the Earth and the Cosmos. With regard to a civilisation that induces the growing compartmentalisation of the human being, within a notion that remains nonetheless dualist, the laboratory intends to explore recent research in the fields of astrophysics, astrobiology, anthropology... crossing them with that of artists, today questioning notions of the man-world, of the body extended to the scale of the universe. From perception to fusion, from immersion to osmosis...
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