The Mind in the Cave

We kicked off our spring season at the Barbican and Wellcome Wonder Street Fair at the  British Festival of Neuroscience London (7th – 10th April) with ‘The Mind in the Cave’.

50 Shades of Grey?

50 Shades of Grey?

This is a dynamic, hands on (but eyes off) activity – conceived by the artist Paul Evans – that allows participants of all ages to engage with the earliest art known to have been made by humans.

We explore the role of Phosphenes in art. Phosphenes are the strange patterns consisting of waves, dots, zigzags, grids, and nested curves that sometimes appear in front of our eyes during blackouts or under conditions of sensory deprivation. This phenomenon may have been the origin for the universal abstract art forms and motifs that appear in cultures around the world.

There is a short interview with the artist Paul Evan who explains how we generated the images below.

Listed below are six of the most common shapes noted, which were originally derived from work done by neurologists and psychologists  These are:

(a) a basic grid and its development in a lattice and expanding hexagonal pattern; (b) sets of parallel lines; (c) dots and short flecks; (d) zigzag lines crossing the field of vision (reported by some subjects as angular, by others as undulating); (e) nested catenary curves; (f) filigrees or thin meandering lines.

Can you see these shapes in the participant generated art….is the human nervous system and its capacity to produce entoptic visual imagery he same as today as in prehistory?

Our feedback from Wellcome on the Wonder Street  Fair

‘Apologies for not saying this immediately, ………. I wanted to say an enormous THANK YOU for your brilliant and incredibly hard work at the Wonder Street Fair last week.The Street Fair was a great success and we were thrilled with the calibre of exhibits and how much the visitors enjoyed themselves.  We were also blown away with how much thought, effort and energy went into each activity and conversation with the many thousands of visitors. I hope you enjoyed taking part and are proud of what the event achieved. In particular I thought Mind in the Cave was incredibly dynamic, eye-catching, and unique.  I also really appreciate how much work you and your team put into it.Though we are conducting a thorough evaluation of the Wonder season, a few stats to take home with you
*       The Wonder Street Fair had an estimated 5,000 visitors (not including delegates and participants)’
Wellcome Wonder Fair Project Officer
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3 thoughts on “The Mind in the Cave

  1. very excellent !!!

    ________________________________ Von: Guerilla Archaeology An: hdosedla@yahoo.com Gesendet: 15:02 Dienstag, 9.April 2013 Betreff: [New post] The Mind in the Cave

    WordPress.com shajam posted: “We kicked off our spring season at theBritish Festival of NeuroscienceStreet Fair, Barbican, London(7th – 10th April)with ‘The Mind in the Cave’. This is a dynamic, hands on (but eyes off) activity with the artist Paul Evans that allows participants “

  2. Pingback: LiveFriday@Ashmolean. An urban Wilderness? | Guerilla Archaeology

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