Neural Detours

Nominated for the ISSR (Institute for Sustainable Solutions Research) Fine Art prize 2014

Neural Detours is a work which asks the viewer to spend a moment thinking about thought.
The room itself is a participatory space you choose to enter. Cocooned in ambient lights of blue, soft edges and fluidity I ask for you to sit a while and meditate on your own ideas about thought.

This work will be exhibited as part of the Hot 14 show at Plymouth University. It combines science and psychology, engaging with the practice of re-routing neural pathways for behaviours and the ideas of Mindfulness meditation; the practice of acknowledging automatic thinking practices and being present in our thoughts. As with my work previously, I’m proposing the idea that we react without gathering all the information, primarily we respond to an object on an aesthetic level and on an instinctive level which is often based on previous experiences. I want  to subvert these immediate responses to allow the viewer to acknowledge their automatic thought processes or even to subconsciously engage with the idea on a more thorough level.

It is an experiential space which asks the viewer to remove themselves from the usual practice of a Gallery environment. Removing your shoes and entering a space cocooned in muted blue lighting, you sit on a padded floor and gaze upwards at a journey around your neural pathways; synapsis fire and connect as you watch. You are removed from the outside world and offered a time and space to think about thinking, or to think about nothing. your engagement with the experience is completely under your control, do you sit, stand or lay. Do you stay a moment, 20 minutes or an hour? There is an audio addition that you can choose to enhance your experience with. Playing Theta binaural beats designed to subtley alter your brainwave patterns and induce a more relaxed and creative mindset. You can find more information on that here.

By challenging you to engage with the work in a non-conventional way you are forcing new pathways to be forged in your behavioural networks. These methods of changing behaviours have been used for decades in works with addiction and negative behaviours but are becoming more understood as tools we can use for our everyday growth. There is a simple explanation of how behavioural pathways are formed here and further reading on the scientific research of rerouting behavioural paths here and here.



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