part of Psyche online at the Science Gallery Bengaluru
Well, making work for “Change my Mind” proved quite difficult. I designed the template for everyone else to work with and expand their ideas on and then had to undertake the process myself. It was not as easy as I had imagined. Not because making work is hard, but actually, when you think about changing your mind, what would you actually want to change.
I thought really hard about how I would change my mind, what would I want to change. I am healthy and don’t feel I have any particularly debilitating defects I need to compensate for. I do forget some things and would like to remember more but, generally my mind/brain is an incredible mechanism that has given me a creative career, and much of the artwork that I have completed over the years I am happy with; it has pushed beyond my expectations.
I find it troubling that having a possible brain implant might 'mess up' what I have, and I know from projects I have been working on that one of the issues with even basic devices that are being trialled presently, is the issue of interference between signals going into the brain and those coming out.
So, aside from an improvement in memory I was a little stumped. Further, in anything that was 'added' to the complex system of the brain, I feel it would have to be of an 'organic' nature compatible with the brain, using wet biology i.e., something that connected and worked biologically with and not against the brain. I am aware that the body has a real capacity for ‘digesting’ anything alien that resides within it; separating implants, encapsulating them in a fool-proof manner is almost impossible.
What I concluded was that what I wanted to do was make some form of overall improvement to my brain, a general boost not a particular improvement. So as for an implant, what I decided on was some form of 'reseeding', growing extra neurons in an organised way to improve my mind. I liked this idea as it also acknowledged a kind of link to what was also there present in the world. A natural growth. I think it is so important to acknowledge the environment and the important links we have with it in our development. So, for my work piece I simply decided I wanted to 'grow' something additive within my brain. I made three attempts to accomplish this and they are my three images for 'Change my Mind'. The first is a work simply adding extra plants, neuron-trees, in painted form; the second is actually growing cress seeds in the space left on the work to add to the input and the last one is lodging a whole small tree in the space to hint at this extra growth. I like the idea it is a tree as it hints at the nature of these complex processes with as much below ground as above ground and the immense complexity of trees, their responsiveness to the place where they are nurtured and the fact that as science continues, we find them ever more complexly related to each other through micro-rhizomes.
They all hint at the organic; the concept of regrowth and reseeding. Maybe the possibility of just improving our brains, our psyche through environmental, educational and nurturing improvements is what we should be aiming for. The group of works is titled, 'Inseed'.