Preview: Friday July 9, 2010 @ 5.30pm - 8pm Exhibition: Saturday July 10, 2010 - Friday July 30, 2010 @ 11:00 - 19:00
Art and neuroscience come together
Art mirroring life: Exhibition teaches audience how their brains work by letting them peer inside a robot's head as it watches them watching it
Art and neuroscience come together in 'Inside TRAK', an upcoming exhibition at Access Space in Sheffield which hopes to demonstrate just how much is really understood about brain function.
The people of Sheffield will have the opportunity to truly become a part of this exhibition as they interact with a robotic 'eye' named TRAK, and see what it sees. TRAK is based on the human 'oculomotor' system - the part of the brain which decides what to look at and directs the gaze accordingly – and is able to look around the room and direct its gaze towards points of interest. For instance, sudden or unexpected movements in its visual field will attract attention and more detailed inspection. This will allows visitors to shape the dynamics of the exhibition as they try to attract TRAK's gaze with wild arm gestures or any other visual means they can come up with!
TRAK is based on a computer model of the oculomotor system, developed by members of the Adaptive Behaviour Research Group in Sheffield University's department of Psychology. The group uses computational methods to help refine and develop our understanding of brain function. This particular model is part of the REVERB project – 'Reverse Engineering the Vertebrate Brain'. It aims to answer the question, 'how do we decide where to look?' by simulating those regions of the brain known to be involved in choosing between different possible actions.
Not only will visitors be able to monitor what TRAK perceives via a display of its visual field, but they will also be able to witness the simulated brain activity driving the robot eye. In an innovative display, real-time images of this neural activity will be projected onto a large sculpture of the brain. In this way, the audience will be able to see the results of their interaction with TRAK not only in its movements, but also in a scientifically accurate visual representation of the brain's response to that interaction.
This installation is a result of collaboration with new-media artist Dora Militaru, who is interested in art that operates on and around its interface with science and technology. Her generative art relies on scientific principles to influence the creative process. Dora had this to say about the project: “I am interested in the ways art can interact with science and technology, and also in how the latter may enable an augmented perception of the artistic experience. 'Inside TRAK' is an art-science encounter; the purpose is to create an interactive installation that “lives” beyond embodying a visual metaphor for the inner workings of the human brain and becomes part of the audience, then proceeds to explain how we choose to see the world.”
Friday 16th July talks programme:
1400-1445 Artist Talk by Dora Militaru (30 min talk + 15 for Q&A) 1445-1515 “One city, two cultures” by Adam Sylvester (15 min talk + 15 for Q&A) 1515-1600 “How do you decide where to look next? From eye-and-brain to camera-and-robot” Kevin Gurney (30 min talk + 15 for Q&A)