ARTIST: James Zall
TITLE: Lateral geniculate nuclei
MEDIUM: Photograph, 16? x 20?, unframed
This original artwork was created for Art on Science: 26 études an internattional portfolio featuring pictures by artists and words by scientists. This written commentary is by Mriganka Sur, Neuroscience Department at M.I.T.
I am a neuroscientist who studies brain mechanisms of vision. My laboratory examines: 1) how connections between neurons or brain cells of the cerebral cortex enable the brain to process visual information 2) how these circuits develop 3) how the visual environment influences their development.
Alongside, we build new technologies to record and image the electrical activity of neurons, and computational methods to analyze them.
James Zall has created an artwork that both highlights and challenges our understanding of visual objects and space. Our brain crafts a unified view of the visual world from many separate views as our eyes dart from one part of a scene to another. By overlaying multiple exposures of different parts of a building facade, James highlights the fragmentary nature of vision. By weaving in rules of seeing, such as arches that provide continuity and window frames that capture lunettelike detail, James binds the image together. By juxtaposing pillars, brick walls, and octagonal lattices, with varying contrasts and highlights spanning a diptych resembling a stereogram, James challenges our notions of perspective. To me, the image brilliantly captures the complexity of vision.
James expertly utilizes his camera and even subverts its controls to take multiple exposures on a single film or digital frame. I was trained in engineering, and I deeply appreciate the intertwining of James? art and technology ? something that marks my own research, as well. Understanding how the brain works involves multiple levels of analysis, similar to creating and interpreting expressive art. My research often dwells in detail, focusing on narrow, seemingly fragmented questions that require stepping back to bind together and unify. And we scientists also first imagine in our mind the answer to a question and later examine it by experimentation, ultimately crafting new ways of seeing nature.
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All artworks are 16? x 20?, unframed and will be shipped with a printed copy of the scientist?s text.
For further information about the portfolio, please visit our Art on Science: 26 études website: http://AS26project.com
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