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1. Re: 1957-2007: Space Imaginaries
2. Re: Synesthesia
Subject: Re: 1957-2007: Space Imaginaries
Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 12:17:43 +0200
SPACELAND AWARDED THE PRIZE âETHICS AND ENTERPRISEâ During the national ceremony in Rome, SpaceLand Italia has been awarded the national Prize âEthics & Enterpriseâ for its achievements in transferring technology and life science results from astronaut programs to elderly people and disabled. http://www.eticaeimpresa.net/2007/vincitori2007.htm NEW MOON-G , MARS-G AND ZERO-G FLIGHT CAMPAIGNS OPENED TO EVERYBODY ANNOUNCED AT THE TOUR FOR THE MINISTERY OF UNIVERSITY AND RESEARCH During the recent event in the lake region of Avigliana (Torino-Italy) for the SpaceLand public outreach science tour commissioned to the SpaceLand Cultural Association by the Italian Ministery of University and Research (Italian Parliament Act nr 6/2000, âSpreading the Science Cultureâ), Mission Commander Doct. Eng. Carlo Viberti and space-journalist Antonio Lo Campo officially announced to several hundreds of students and to several mass-media the start of preliminary activities to implement a nation-wide selection of youngsters for upcoming SpaceLand Research and Educational Flight Campaigns in zero-gravity, Moon-gravity and Mars-gravity from the Space Shuttle strip at NASA in Florida and/or from the new SpaceLand flight center in Europe: www.SpaceLand.it SPACELAND MOON-G, MARS-G AND ZERO-G FLIGHT TRAINING CAMP EXPANDS The new SpaceLand Alpine Camp on the Olympic Alps widens up: extensive training and qualification events shall be held from March 2008 featuring, inter alia, hand-on tests for international visitors and mass media, going through underwater space operations trials and astronaut training experiences at the 2000-meter high SpaceLand campus in a brand new, beautiful 4-star hotel on the Olympic mountains. www.SpaceLand.it
Subject: Re: Synesthesia
Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 12:50:31 +0200
Bonjour, dear Yasminers
- I observe that a lot of messages in the section Synesthesia have no direct relations with the phenomenon of synesthesia but generally speaking with the relations between arts and the new field of neurosciences. I consider that to be very meaningful. The term synesthesia is used more as a metonymy for something much more extensive, which would include neuropsychology, neurobiology, cognitive psychology and what is called neuroesthetics.
- The idea ofâ that artists and writers are able to explore specific functioning of the cognitive system through their worksâ has nothing new. It is largely used by Semir Seki in Inner Vision: An Exploration of Art and the Brain. Oxford University Press: Oxford. (1999).
Zeki who coined the term neuro-aesthetics illustrated every specialized cortical era by a painter. Fauvism was supposed to have explored the V4 era, specialized in the colour processing, and kinetic art would correspond to the specialization of V5. In his conference on the âBeautifulâ, Jean-Pierre Changeux gives the example of Matisse as a neurophysiologist artist.
There is an excellent article called Â« Art and Neuroscience Â», written by John Hyman, on line (http://www.interdisciplines.org/artcognition/papers/15 ), from a conference on line about art and cognition organized by ENS/ CNRS/ Institut Jean Nicod in 2005. John Hyman reminds the idea that artists would be neurologists as studying the brain with their own techniques is just a modernized rewriting of Helmhotzâs theory of 1871. According to Helmholtz, artists were explorers of visual system. John Hyman quotes Helmholtz in a text of 1871:
"We must look upon artists as persons whose observation of sensuous impressions is particularly vivid and accurate, and whose memory for these images is particularly true. That which long tradition has handed down to the men most gifted in this respect, and that which they have found by innumerable experiments in the most varied directions, as regards means and methods of representation, forms a series of important and significant facts, which the physiologist, who has here to learn from the artist, cannot afford to neglect. The study of works of art will throw great light on the question as to which elements and relations of our visual impressions are most predominant in determining our conception of what is seen, and what others are of less importance. As far as lies within his power, the artist will seek to foster the former at the cost of the latter."
After this quotation, Hyman comments:
âIn this passage, Helmholtz combines the idea that artists test and explore the visual system Most visual scientists have abandoned Helmholtzâs theory of vision. They no longer talk about sensuous impressions, or about the unconscious mind interpreting sensuous impressions. Instead, it is generally held that different parts of the brain are simultaneously performing various highly specialized tasks, reacting to form, or to motion, or to colour; and that somehow or other the results of these processes are combined to form a unified visual perception, although nobody is sure yet how this synthesis occurs.â
The article is furthermore a devastating critique of V.S. Ramachandranâs ideas on neuroesthetics.
For relations between arts and neurosciences, and especaillya arts and neuropsychology, I would recommend some books or articles: :
- Rose, F. C. (Ed.), (2004). Neurology and Arts: Painting, Music, Literature. London: Imperial College Press.
Bogousslavsky, J., & Boller. F. (Eds.). (2005). Neurological disorders in Famous Artists. Basel: Karger AG.
Chatterjee, A. (2004). âThe neuropsychology of visual artistic productionâ, Neuropsychologia, (42) 1568-83.
Sorry for that, I would indicate some personal papers. But one was done in Leonardo Conference in Prague, called : Â« neuroaesthtics, neujrological disorders and creativityâ, which begins by:
Â« Neurology of the arts or neuroaesthetics is a new branch of neurology especially concerned by neuropsychology of visual artistic production and cerebral localisation of musical perception and musical memory (Seki, 1999; Rose, 2004; Chatterjee, 2004; Bogousslavky & Boller, 2005). Among the different activities the new field of research is gathering, such as study of pictorial representation of neurological symptoms in the art history, diagnosis of artistsâneurological diseases, this article will focus on the study of relations between cognitive disabilities for neurological disorders and artistic production by visual artists. Neurological deficits can change the work in content or in style, but can be used also as sources of inspiration, especially in the case of epilepsy and migraine. But some final diagnosis remain controversial as regards for instance the nature of the disease of Ravel, Van Gogh, or Giorgio de Chirico, (Bogousslavky & Boller, 2005) or even De Kooning!
. According to Anjan Chatterjee (2004) writing about the breakdown of the visual representations: âThe work produced by artists who have suffered from brain damage can contribute to our understanding of these representationsâ(p.1568) and it is also the opinion of Bogousslavky and Boller (2005): Â»
Among more personal writings:
- Article, Â« Art et cerveau : vers la neuro-esthÃ©tique ? Â», in Â« Rencontre Â», Recherches en esthÃ©tique, Revue du C.E.R.E.A.P, nÂ°12, 2006.
Cette revue reliÃ©e au Laboratoire dâEsthÃ©tique ThÃ©orique et AppliquÃ©e de lâUniversitÃ© de Paris I PanthÃ©on Sorbonne est dirigÃ©e par Dominique Berthet, dans le comitÃ© de rÃ©daction : Ernest Breleur et Marc Jimenez.
- Colloque MutaMorphosis: Challenging Arts and Sciences, International Conference, Prague. A Leonardo 40th Anniversary celebration, Prague, novembre 2007.
Titre de lâintervention : âNeuroesthetics, Neurological Disorders and Creativityâ (La neuro-esthÃ©tique, dÃ©sordres neurologiques et crÃ©ativitÃ©)
- Article en ligne : Â« LittÃ©rature, arts visuels, neuroesthÃ©tique Â»,
ÃpistÃ©mocritique, revue dâÃ©tudes et de recherches sur les littÃ©ratures et les savoirs, UniversitÃ© du QuÃ©bec
- Intervention : Â« DerniÃ¨res traces : lâultime possibilitÃ© crÃ©atrice dans la maladie neurologique Â», Colloque Voyages Au Noir, organisÃ© par le Centre des cultures et des arts de la CaraÃ¯be et la dÃ©lÃ©gation acadÃ©mique aux arts et Ã la culture, du vendredi 23 novembre au dimanche 25 novembre 2007, Martinique ( on line in the next months)
I am preparing an article for a conference on BesanÃ§on on memory at he ed of mars and one of my theme is on what Jonah Lehrer wrote on âProust as an neuroscientistâ
.The theme is nothing new as we saw with Zeki and even Lemholtz. And furthermore a lot of authentic scientists have wrotten on relations between Proust and neurosociences. . As early as the 9th of november 1998, a specialist of Proust, Yves TadiÃ© had presented in front of the AcadÃ©mie des Sciences morals et politiques, pusblished in the Revue of the AcadÃ©mie an article about âProust neurologueâ. In his recension fo books and articles on it, there were, D.Shacter, Searching for memory, I. Rosenfield, Invention of memory, G. Edelman, Bright air, Bright fire, without speacking of Changeux and Vigouroux.
What would be original in what he wrote on the theme should be on the speculative explanation of involuntary memory by prions, - whitout entering in easy commentaries of bizarre errors on Proustâs work.
It is why in the article I compare this kind of new scientific fantasies with Narbyâs explanation of memories in the nature. The well-know Jeremy Narbyâs Â«hypothesis Â» in The cosmic snake: DNA and the origins of Knowledge postulates a link between the genetic code and shamanic knowledge, refering to a speculative hypothesis, that of Popp, Gu and Li. about biophotons like cellular language. In both texts, Narbyâs and Lehrerâs you have the same importation of highly speculative theories connected to the genetic code to explain memory mechanisms. Of cause, my point of view is not to judge or condemn, but from an anthropological point of view, to describe phenomena of the contemporary imaginary.
Institut Nicod. EHESS
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