Collective Brain

October 4th - November 27, 2022

Opening Tuesday October 4th, 6-8PM

Opening Gallery is pleased to announce Collective Brain, a group exhibition of works by Alina Bliumis, Jeff Bliumis, Veronique Bourgoin, Alexandros Georgiou, Mat Chivers, Raúl Cordero, Yioula Hadjigeorgiou, Steven C. Harvey, Peggy Kliafa, Artemis Kotioni, Jessica Mitrani, Paula Meninato, Eleni Mylonas, Margarita Myrogianni, Warren Neidich, Alexander Polzin, Dan Reisner, Juli Susin, Dimitris Tragkas, Adonis Volanakis, Hans Weigand, Vasilis Zarifopoulos curated by Dr. Sozita Goudouna. Installed across the first floor of 42 Walker St, Collective Brain attempts to challenge our perception of mental processes with an arrangement of corporeally provoking art pieces, connecting artists who work in divergent media and are convening from diverse localities.  

Contemplating the notion of the mind as a mechanism – a brain system responsible for spatial memory and navigation – Collective Brain offers different viewpoints about the brain and its million neurons by centering neurodiversity as the fundamental concept about how we can understand the physical and biological origins of human emotion in the brain, as well as the conception, exhibition, and reception of the artworks. A section of the exhibition also attempts to comprehend and challenge perceptions about the operations of the non-human brain.  

The revolutionary field of optogenetics allows us to decipher the brain's inner workings using light, however, we still seem to know little about the human mind and certain theorists argue that it is much too complicated to be controlled, while brain and electrostimulation experiments of the 60s and 70s were often unable to clarify which parts of the brain are stimulated by stimoceivers or electro-magnetic radiation.  

Further to the notion of mind control, current scientific research attempts to illuminate the biological nature of our inner worlds and our “projections” namely the ways aspects of the self are experienced by the individual as residing outside the self (Deisseroth K.). Drawing from Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the founder of modern neuroscience, and his claim that “knowledge of the physicochemical basis of memory, feelings, and reason would make humans the true masters of creation, that their most transcendental accomplishment would be the conquering of their own brain,” the exhibition attempts to trace the visualization of the brain's inner circuitry with a deep empathy for mental illness.  

Cajal ventured into science as both an artist and a pathologist, while he became the first person to see a neuron. The scientist visualized the inner workings of the mind with thousands of stunning pen-and-ink diagrams and his exquisite, meticulous drawings of neurons in the brain and spinal cord proved that every neuron in the brain is separate and that neurons communicate across synapses.

There is an on-going parallel between the ‘visualization of the brain’ in the scientific and in the artistic domains and a fascination with the visualization of the neurons, but how can this visualization help us understand the invisible synapses of the collective brain and especially the ways human societies can resist mind control with actual free will.