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Accepted Paper:

Neuro-art and the spell of animist futures  
Maxime Le Calvé (Humboldt University in Berlin, ExC Matters of Activity)

Paper short abstract:

Neuro-art is not a single genre but an art-science scene. Private and public foundations intend to teach the public a new expert truth on the human, thereby pursuing neuroscience's efforts to animate the material brain with phenomena that had been hitherto considered the domain of the soul.

Paper long abstract:

Neuro-art is not a single genre but a broad art-science scene that started to emerge together with the institutions of neuroscience and neurocapitalism. Producing beautiful brain images is a self-confessed pleasure of neuroscientists, who engage with the visual power of neural landscapes in multiple ways (Beaulieu 2002). New operative imaging modes have emerged, which aren't only representations but tools that can guide clinical interventions. Individualized "digital twins" simulations of the human brain have become a new territory for neuroscientific research (see Ritter & al 2021). They blend the "in silico" observation of biological computational models with the "neural" networks of the state of the art computer science, extending the Hollywood-inspired animation of biological science toward real-time interactive modeling (Kelty & Landecker 2004).

The pictorial turn in brain research and its popular brain iconography is being challenged by new immersive art installations and performances based on neurocomputational knowledge. Brandishing the conqueror's banner of science communication and pedagogies, private and public foundations intend to teach the public a new expert truth on the human. They are pursuing neuroscience's efforts of animating the material brains with phenomena that had been hitherto considered the domain of the soul, lurking toward new utopias of the neuronal human (Gorck 2012, 2016). Based on an ongoing multisite ethnographic study in the "brain city Berlin", I will contrast a plurality of perspectives showing the institutional entanglements of several of these distinct yet intersecting endeavors in the domain of contemporary art.

Panel P072
Hopeful chronopolitics: contemporary art and ethnography
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -