A Sec­ond Man­i­festo for Neu­ro­plas­tic Arts


Session Title:

  • The Institute of Unnecessary Research

Presentation Title:

  • A Sec­ond Man­i­festo for Neu­ro­plas­tic Arts




  • Panel:  The Institute of Unnecessary Research

    Al­though a grow­ing num­ber of sci­en­tists are now look­ing at the ef­fects of the in­ter­net on the brain, they are in fact just look­ing at the tip of an ice­berg. They are leav­ing un­ex­plored the rest of the com­plex fab­ric of the dig­i­tally en­abled con­tem­po­rary en­vi­ron­ment, which is in con­stant two-way in­ter­ac­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion with our bod­ies, and with our plas­tic brains, chang­ing them in an un­known man­ner. The spe­cific branch of neu­ro­science that stud­ies brain plas­tic­ity – the ways in which the brain can rad­i­cally mod­ify and re­con­fig­ure it­self through in­ter­ac­tion with the en­vi­ron­ment – has great po­ten­tial for help­ing us to un­der­stand the brain’s par­tic­u­lar sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies. This ap­plies not only to the in­ter­net and the broader dig­i­tal en­vi­ron­ment, but also to the multi-sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ences within the grow­ing body of process-based arts en­abled by dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies, and in par­tic­u­lar in­ter­ac­tive art. Can we be sure that neu­ro­science will one day look at the whole pic­ture, and pro­vide us with ex­pla­na­tions of these phe­nom­ena? Or might it be that there is a role left for in­ter­ac­tive artists, keen to re­search the very essence of their artis­tic medium and its ef­fects on their au­di­ences, to push re­search for­ward to pur­sue, pro­duce, and apply the nec­es­sary knowl­edge?