BRAINWAVE: Common Senses responds to current advancements in neurological research by visualizing and investigating the brain’s capacity for sense perception, memory, emotion and logic. The artists in this exhibition redefine this research in a different way, abandoning literal representations of the brain and categorical analysis in favor of works that take, as starting points, elements from neuroscience and flipping these ideas on their heads.

These works create an alternate discourse between art and science, encouraging the viewer to consider the brain not only as the center of human activity but as a site for interpretation. This exhibition presents the brain as a site for scientific and philosophical debates, for examining our relationship to the world – and for questioning our common sense.

This exhibition is the second in Exit Art’s Unknown Territories series of exhibitions that explore the impact of scientific advances on contemporary culture and examine in particular how contemporary artists interpret and interact with the new knowledge and possibilities created by technological innovation in the 21st century. It follows Paradise Now: Picturing the Genetic Revolution, a landmark exhibition of art and biotechnology at Exit Art in 2000. The next exhibition is Corpus Extremus (LIFE+), curated by Boryana Rossa, an exhibition of biotechnology based artworks opening December 6, 2008.


Suzanne Anker, David Bowen, Steve Budington, Phil Buehler, Andrew Carnie, George Jenne, Daniel Marguiles and Chris Sharp, Fernando Orellana and Brendan Burns, Jamie O’Shea, SERU, Devorah Sperber, Naho Taruishi, Dustin Wenzel

Suzanne Anker (New York, NY) uses three-dimensional Rorschach tests, brain scans and images of butterfly wings to describe the organic complexity of the human brain. David Bowen’s (Duluth, MN) Swarm is an autonomous roaming device whose movements are determined by dozens of houseflies housed inside the device itself. Steve Budington’s (Burlington, VT) painting, The Candidate, critiques the political campaign by visualizing a candidate made entirely of ears listening to a constituency made of eyes. Phil Buehler’s (New York, NY) video, Windows of the Soul, questions the idea of madness through the eyes of 300 psychiatric patients. Andrew Carnie’s (Winchester, England) installation Magic Forest uses cyclical slide projections to depict an ever-growing ‘forest’ of neurons within a developing brain to show its data collecting capability. George Jenne’s (Brooklyn, NY) sculptural installation uses a variety of objects associated with adolescence, called ‘tokens’, set against a green screen to explore the brain’s ability to catalog various images and reference them with past experiences. Daniel Marguiles (New York, NY) and Chris Sharp (Milano, Italy) couple Kant’s Third Critique of Judgement and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with brain scan imagery to create a video of the stimulated brain. Fernando Orellana (Troy, NY) imposes his own brainwave activity during R.E.M (rapid eye movement) sleep on a robot in order to determine its navigation and behavior. Jamie O’Shea’s (New York, NY) Alvin is a realization of an interactive and electronic neural network constructed with physical hardware. SERU’s (New York, NY) Reodorant, a multisensory installation, is a memory-reactive device that mixes smell, sound, light and architecture. Devorah Sperber (New York, NY) uses hundreds of spools of thread to create a blurry, inverted image that, when viewed through the lens of a magnifying glass, becomes a precise rendering of the Mona Lisa. Naho Taruishi’s (New York, NY) single-channel video, Close Your Eyes, is meant to be seen ‘blindly’ with the eyelids acting as an internal projection screen. Dustin Wenzel’s (Ottawa, Canada) brass sculptures are brain-cavity castings of Great Whales.


Jeanette Ingberman
Papo Colo


Joseph Ledoux – The Amygdaloids
Friday, February 29, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Pioneering researcher Joseph LeDoux, the Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science at NYU’s Center for Neural Science and the director of the Center for the Neuroscience of Fear and Anxiety conducts a walk-through of BrainWave: Common Senses, discussing brain- related issues along the way. His band The Amygdaloids plays afterwards.

Hypnotism and the Hidden Language of Radio Theater
Friday, March 14, 6-7 p.m.

Informal lecture by Raphael Lyon

Fifty years ago, the development of Radio Theater froze in its tracks. What would film look like today if it never progressed beyond the first few single-point
perspective silent shorts? Conversely, what would sound-only narratives look like if they had the time to develop the complex narrative codes we take for granted in any B movie?

Lyon will talk about his groundbreaking research into the underlying language of “Dark Cinema,” sound only narratives which include Radio Theater. This revolutionary approach to the semiotics of sound parallels the development of the subject and the object in visual cinema through the use of the gaze and the ability to “see someone looking,” but replaces it with something profoundly different.

In Dark Cinema, “the gaze” must be replaced with an alternate that does not require the impossible ability to “hear someone listening.” Lyon’s ideas about Dark Cinema, based on the theories of hypnotism and trance induction, break down the conventional visual theories of how one creates narrative through point of view, movement, etc., and builds a new one for sound.

Friday, March 14, 7-10 p.m.

Exit Art presents a night of sound art that explores hypnosis and trance. The event features Zach Layton’s real-time sound manipulation of an electroencephalograph (EEG), Wind-Up Bird’s quadraphonic drone meditations, and Raphael Lyon’s hour-long “cinema-in-the-dark” hypno-drama, Psicklops. Lyon’s work, Psicklops, will be presented in a darkened room. Audience members will be asked to sit or lie down for the duration of the piece. Free

Matt Mullican
Wednesday, April 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Artist Matt Mullican screens a video of his performances made while under hypnosis and discusses his work in relation to perception, the subconscious, and his personal cosmology of symbols. Concurrent with the artist’s presentation in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. Free.

Kent and Kevin Young
Friday, April 11, 6:30 – 8pm

A Monozygotic Experiment Using Telepathic Conveyance
Los Angeles-based artists Kent and Kevin Young will make a ‘painting’ by trying to solve a crossword puzzle from clues telepathically sent from one twin brother to the other.