Dec 24, 2012


The famous Lorenz Attractor - a chaotic attractor representing the long-term behavior of a system in visual form, whose body plan resembles a butterfly or a striped face mask, has become an emblem of chaos theory. The excessive and chaotic brain responses to chaotic visual stimuli and a particular brain visual systems sensitivity to a pattern of regularly spaced parallel stripes are well-known phenomena. This CEREBRART work visualizes these ideas artistically.

Dec 6, 2012

CEREBRART - In Memoriam: David Warren Brubeck

We live in an artificial overly-geometrically-correct tetragonal culture. Tetragonal shapes having four angles or sides are all around us including my CEREBRART artworks. But our brain is a pentagonal universe - from the anatomical Circulus Willisii (pentagonal vascular circle at the base of the brain) to the neuronal acetylcholine receptor having a pentagonal molecular structure.

Brubeck’s "Take Five" helped me to understand this pentagonal brain universe. David Warren Brubeck died on Dec. 05, 2012, morning. I heard his "Take Five" for the first time when I was about 15 years old and even with my then very limited capacity to understand jazz music, I was greatly impressed by that piece. "Take Five" (that became the Brubeck quartet's theme) was a musical milestone deviated from the standard 4/4 time (or 3/4 waltz time) of Western music using the unusual quintuple (5/4) time. This CEREBRART work illustrates Brubeck’s pentagonal universe.


Dec 4, 2012

CEREBRART - painting the island of Reil

The human insula (or island of Reil) is an evolutionary old (paleocortex) and entirely hidden brain structure, a polymodal integrative zone, implicated in a large number of different functions and dysfunctions. E.g. insular cortex is intensely activated by painful stimuli or foul stimuli such as rotting fish and is responsible for the processing of social emotions related to the current motivational state. In the mature brain the insular cortex is situated in the depths of the lateral sulcus and revealed only when the banks of the lateral sulcus are partially separated or when the brain is dissected. The insula passed through a progressive differentiation during terrestrial vertebrata evolution, and is greatly expanded in humans playing an important role in the extended integrated action cycle (that starts in Integration, Information, Motivation, Intention and Volition, and culminates in Action and Reflection).

Fishes use a special sensory system to obtain information about minute water movements: the lateral line system. The lateral line system decodes the information in the water surrounding the fish to enable the fish to identify and localize the source of the perturbation. From the lateral-line system of fishes evolved the vestibular system of terrestrial vertebrata which deals with equilibrium and position in space and ascending thalamocortical projection from the vestibular nuclei to the insular cortex which is important in the conscious awareness of head motion, balance, orientation, appropriate actions and integration/memorization of the paths taken. Likely, the insula is one of the most changed regions of the human brain. This CEREBRART work illustrates an evolutionary trend in the island of Reil development.


Dec 3, 2012


Pain (an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential damage, or described in terms of such damage) gives nociceptive information to the brain about injuries, helps to survive and is probably far more complicated than the other perceptual modalities. The three stages of pain information transmission can be recognized. Firstly, pain information is generated using peripheral receptors (nociceptors). Secondly, transmission of pain information from the periphery to the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Passage of pain information to higher brain centers, leading to the third stage of pain affect, motivation to reduce pain  and appropriate action. Humans do something because it gives them pleasure or because it helps to avoid pain.

So, pain information generates both sensations and motivations to act and is distributed to many brain areas, which reflects its tremendous evolutionary significance for survival. The central processing of pain information includes transmission to brain stem centers, where autonomic nervous system responses are recruited, to the limbic system, where the emotional components of pain are experienced, and to the cortex, where pain information is perceived and interpreted, It has been shown that painful stimuli activate a vast network of cortical areas, involved in the generation of painful percepts and including the primary and secondary somatosensory cortex, the insula, posterior parietal cortex, anterior and mid-cingulate cortex, and parts of the prefrontal cortex. This CEREBRART work illustrates nociceptive regions in parasylvian cortex that are involved in processing pain information.

Nov 22, 2012


The most evolutionary ancient part of the brain, the brain stem is made up of three basic regions-midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata. Evolutionary highly conserved and the most primitive brainstem system, which extends from the spinal cord to the basal diencephalon, links the “higher-order” brain to the spinal cord and controls communication between the cerebral cortex and the spinal cord and peripheral nerves. The brainstem system controls basic drives and reactions that appeared far back in evolutionary time, with the emergence of terrestrial vertebrates. E.g. many involuntary actions, such as swallowing, are controlled by nervous cells of the brain stem. Human unmotivated destructive actions may be seen as a reaction to perceived threat that is mediated by the threat-response system in the brain stem. Now, an experiment is in progress with the planet, devised to test its ability to sustain and tolerate the burden of human unmotivated and not properly reflected destructive actions. No human brain has ever openly declared this experiment or supported it, but its elementary destructive actions are nonetheless carefully planned, actively pursued and strongly supported by lots of conscious cerebral cortexes. This CEREBRART work illustrates artistically an idea that human destructive actions biologically rooted in our evolutionary ancient past may induce not only destruction of our external environment but also destruction of our own brains.

Nov 20, 2012

CEREBRART - Hallucination

Hallucinations are well-known examples of informational chaos in the brain - perceptions that occur in the absence of external stimuli produced by the spontaneous activity of nerve cells in the visual or auditory cortex and thought to be due to the chaotic nature of the autoactivation process and to the failure to recognize them as unreal - to distinguish inner and outer. People who have auditory hallucinations hear sounds and voices that seem to come from outside their heads and cannot recognize that the sounds are actually coming from within.

This CEREBRART work shows two activated brain areas that runs the neurocognitive system into chaotic hallucinatory iteration. Broca’s area (areas 44 and 45) is a region of the inferior frontal lobe with functions linked to speech production. And the auditory cortex of the superior temporal gyrus, the brain area that helps people hear sounds. Continuous feedback information flow between frontal lobe and auditory areas of the temporal lobe are extremely important for volitional speech production. Conversely, impairment of this feedback information flow, as shown here artistically, might be related to hallucinatory phenomena - people hear sounds produced by their own brains.

Nov 19, 2012

Boris Strugatsky: In Memoriam

A famous writer Boris Strugatsky died in Saint Petersburg today on November 19, 2012. The Strugatsky brothers - Arkady and Boris Strugatsky - were highly influential for my personal development and intellectual interests, and traces of their works are here, embedded in my cerebrart blog posts - visible or invisible...


Is there no room for genuine free will?

 Ancient philosophers held many conflicting views about the nature of free will. Free will problem is actually a tricky problem, to which the solutions aren't clear - it matters how one defines "Free Will". Most people intuitively accept that free will exists. But because the human brain is composed of physical objects, and their behavior is governed by the laws of nature, some contemporary scientists maintain that free will is just an illusion and we are merely puppets.

 Brain sciences give us some opportunities to study the biological processes that surround free will and we have a growing number of experiments which state free will is an illusion and the very notion of free will is incoherent. Well, these experiments raise interesting questions about the concept of free will. However, there are lots of theoretical problems.

 There remain some sharp criticisms of recent experiments. Some data have no serious relevance to free will problems. Unfortunately, very few scientists have said exactly how these experimental data are supposed to undermine free will. Much more importantly - these experiments based on purely mechanistic models are very far away from our real lives and real decisions.

Therefore, I suggests that we ought to focus on real important actions and real important decisions that are grounded in our metadisciplinary extended integrated model of brain where Volition is
not the whole thing but merely a part of a chaotically connected dynamic networks of seven modules: Integration, Information, Motivation, Intention, Volition, Action and Reflection. This CEREBRART work will prompt readers to seek new serious arguments for discussing free will problem.

I believe there is enough room here for serious discussion.

Nov 10, 2012


The term attractor is used to mean the set of states towards which other states in a given basin of attraction asymptotically approach in the course of evolution - the trajectory will always fall onto the same attractor. Many natural systems can be characterized as being chaotic - cosmic, meteorological, heart and brain of living organisms and so on. For a chaotic system, its strange attractor represents the envelope of possibility within which its future motion will be contained. These considerations make the attractor concept very useful in evolution studies, including the brain evolution studies. Brain evolution is a complex chaotic weave of processes bound by diverse rules and principles, and the factors driving evolutionary changes in brain structures probably changed over time. Nevertheless, brain evolves not altogether randomly, but in accordance with a set of leading laws or principles and human brain shares the same basic anatomical plan which is found in all mammals and even in amphibians and reptiles. Thus, nature has provided us with a robust message that the brain could be seen as an attractor over the course of evolution. In other words, biological evolution of higher animals is directed by their brain. Hopefully, these chaotic considerations and my humble CEREBRART work will prompt readers to seek more supporting evidence for the chaotic brain evolution theory.

Oct 12, 2012

CEREBRART - Brain Waves

Let's follow the girl from my previous post on her journey across an integrated brain cycle from those dehydrating desert to the calm hydrating ocean... The journey from yellow desert to the blue-green ocean (from motivation to goal) always is surprising for the brain! Like drops of water in the ocean combine to form ocean waves, the electrical signals of brain cells form brain waves that originate mainly from the cerebral cortex, but also reflect activities in other parts of the brain. The calming sounds of ocean waves seems to have beneficial effects on the cerebral cortex functions... Keep calm and stay happy!

Oct 11, 2012


The Metaphorical Desert typically tends to be understood as a place that has no desirable conditions and clearly motivates susceptible to dehydration human brains to escape desert heat. In the light of this understanding, the meaning of the above CEREBRART artwork becomes absolutely clear.

Oct 10, 2012


Who fell in love with his own reflection? A handsome Narcissus came to a still pool, caught sight of his own reflection and was unable to leave off from reflecting. Gazing endlessly at the reflection, he was transformed somehow into a narcissus flower having a ring of six floral leaves called the perianth which may be variously colored. Some Narcissus species are grown commercially to produce a drug used to combat Alzheimer's disease (galantamine). This CEREBRART artwork reminds: "The Reflection Stage is just one petal of an integrated cycle. So don't forget to finish your Reflection Stage just in time!"

Oct 9, 2012

CEREBRART - the Black Hole of Parkinson's Disease

This CEREBRART artwork is created for those who have fallen into this black hole - Parkinson's disease which belongs to a group of conditions called movement disorders. Parkinson's disease occurs when cerebral cells in an area of the brain known as the substantia nigra or black substance die ("melting") which results in abnormal signaling patterns within the brain that cause impaired movement. People with Parkinson's disease often develop a so-called parkinsonian gait that includes a tendency to lean forward and problems with initiating movement. Or they may stop suddenly as they walk. People with Parkinson's disease can benefit from being proactive and finding out as much as possible about mechanisms of Parkinson's disease in order to alleviate fear of an unknown spiral around a black hole. I believe strongly that active research concerning mechanisms of Parkinson's disease will lead to new effective therapies in persons with Parkinson's disease. E.g. Ronald Postuma of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and colleagues have found recently that persons with Parkinson's disease received caffeine showed a significant improvement in tests for motor problems.

Oct 8, 2012


The functional role (motivation, intention, volition etc.) played by any component (e.g. cortical area, neurotransmitter, neuronal population etc.) of the human brain is largely defined by its synaptic connections. Our intentions snaked with our early predecessors synapsida through the more primitive red-to-blue information-to-immediate-action world of ancient reptilians. For decades, acetylcholine was thought of a memory-related neurotransmitter, but now acetylcholine thought to play an important role in executive functions. This CEREBRART artwork shows numerous partly stylised neural cholinergic fibers labelled by choline acetyltransferase (green) tending to establish synaptic connections with one activated pyramidal neural cell with a big nucleus (blue) and nucleolus (red) in the cortex cerebri.

CEREBRART - Big Brain Again

When it comes to human brain volume, bigger doesn't always mean better. Human brains expanded roughly by half between H. erectus and H. sapiens sapiens. The brain scientists aren't sure about the implications of this evolutionary trend. There are some disadvantages of increasing brain size. Big brains are energetically extremely expensive. And as humans continue to evolve, some scientists say our brains are actually getting smaller and admit that the shrinking human brain could eventually signal an evolutionary dumbing-down. This CEREBRART artwork evolves the topic started in my previous posts.

Oct 4, 2012


This CEREBRART work interprets allegorically the Reflection phase "One More Time" - as the core concept of Reflection is about repeating the game a few times!

P.S. The zebrafish, Danio rerio, embryonic brain development (vide infra) has nothing to do with any esoteric interpretation. But I am very grateful for any interesting comments and even esoteric interpretations of my humble scientific-artistic CEREBRART artworks!

Sep 19, 2012

CEREBRART - Chaotic Brain

As nervous systems of the most ancestral animals evolved, and nerve cells began to cluster together in truly primitive brains, there was only rather limited chaos there. Over time, however, primitive brains grew increasingly complex. In higher animals, it is clear that ending up with trillions of nervous cells, cerebral chaos greatly expands.

Formally chaos is a nonlinear deterministic process that looks random. Some self-generated chaos is the gateway to creativity.  CEREBRART = ART of GENERATING and LIMITING chaos in the Brain. Contemporary technological breakthroughs offer a unique opportunity to better understand how the human brain generates and limits chaos. This CEREBRART work “Chaotic Brain” illustrates artistically the  subject of limited chaos, a topic which has not attracted much attention among either brain scientists (let alone artists).

Sep 18, 2012

CEREBRART - Planet Brain

Vladimir Vernadsky’s concept of nöosphere or the “sphere of wisdom” (НООСФЕРА - ЦАРСТВО РАЗУМА) is grounded in his research into the physical sciences and stages in the development of the planet: “. . . the whole of mankind put together represents an insignificant mass of the planet’s matter. Its strength is derived not from its matter, but from its brain. If man understands this, and does not use his brain and his work for self-destruction, an immense future is open before him in the geological history of the biosphere” (Vernadsky, 1945).

This CEREBRART work “Planet Brain” illustrates that idea as well as H.G. Wells's concept of "World Brain" artistically.

Sep 16, 2012


Idea of this CEREBRART work was born suddenly at Third Biennial Conference on Resting State Brain Connectivity (during a vegetarian lunch) when I was absorbed in an interesting conversation with Professor Wei Chen from the University of Minnesota. We discussed various problems including how functional resting-state brain connectivity links to brain integration. We have mentioned connectomics - a field of neuroscience that provides a visual representation of  all neuronal connections between cerebral structures. But how to go further - to a mega scale description of the functional and structural integration of all cerebral structures and ecosystem elements?

That is the question, and my CEREBRART artwork illustrates this question.

Sep 14, 2012

CEREBRART - The Birth of Intentions

Motor actions are present before birth, we do not begin with ‘white paper’ at birth. Nevertheless, motor actions before birth are unintentional.  Intentions evolve in interaction with the evolving perceptual and cognitive systems during the early years of life. In other words, intentions are the product of the ways in which the child moves through the external world and interacts with external objects. Our life path is paved with our noble intentions. And our intentions, and therefore our actions are the product of deterministic processes, including processes of motivation.

Contemporary technological breakthroughs offer a unique opportunity to better understand how intentions emerge within the human brain. This CEREBRART work “The Birth of Intentions” illustrates that idea artistically.

CEREBRART - Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia is a disorder affecting the trigeminal nerve (the 5th cranial nerve), causing episodes of sudden, severe pain on one side of the face. Trigeminal Neuralgia has been described as among the most painful conditions known to mankind. Several theories exist to explain the possible mechanisms of Trigeminal Neuralgia. But the current theories and treatment options for Trigeminal Neuralgia are not satisfactory.

Recent data demonstrate that glial cells are involved in the development of neuropathic pain (e.g. Kimiko Kobayashi et al., Glia, Volume 60, Issue 10, pages 1529–1539, October 2012).

This CEREBRART work is an artistic interpretation of my own explanation of the possible mechanisms of Trigeminal Neuralgia.

Sep 13, 2012

CEREBRART - Neuronal Activism

Any brain cell’s activity is meaningful only with respect to what other brain cells are doing. The dynamic interplay between brain cells is the essence of brain function. Any brain activity relies on the stable propagation of action potentials from network to network.

Any motor action results from the integrated spatiotemporal coordinated activity of brain cell populations. Without coordinated activity amongst neural cells, the accomplishment of any motor task would not be possible.

This CEREBRART work illustrates “Neural Cells’ Manifestation” - an event, action that clearly embodies an abstract idea of “Neuronal Activism” - the coordinated activity of brain cell ensembles that are the source (and manifestation) of any human action.

Sep 12, 2012

CEREBRART - The Birth of Motivation

To what extent is human motivation fixed at birth and to what extent can it be modified by experience?  An important period of gradual axonal and dendritic growth and synapse refinement and elimination in the brain appears to occur mostly within the first decade of life, starting at birth. Because motivation is something that comes and goes, a failure of appropriate levels of social motivation, when deficient from birth, may derail a whole host of complex brain developmental processes. Therefore, I believe that the study of the ways in which sustainable motivation emerges developmentally can contribute to a broader and much deeper understanding of how the brain works.
I believe further that music is not only the foremost motivational resource but also offers a unique opportunity to better understand how motivation emerges within the human brain. This CEREBRART work “The Birth of Motivation” illustrates that idea artistically.

Sep 11, 2012

CEREBRART - Decision Making

Frontal and parietal brain areas are strongly interconnected and function together for many aspects of decision making and action selection. Especially, damage to the frontal lobe can cause decision-making impairments. Cerebral cells in the frontal cortex encode many variables that contribute to the valuation of a choice, such as its costs, benefits and probability of success. Therefore, when card players have to solve a problem, they activate frontal and parietal brain areas.
This CEREBRART work is a variation on a theme of “The Card Players” - a series of oil paintings by the French artist Paul Cézanne and illustrates a widespread network of brain regions, primarily in the frontal and parietal cortex implicated in Card-Playing.

Sep 10, 2012

This is Your Brain on Art

This is Your Brain on Art is an interactive panel discussion exploring neuroaesthetics: the study of your brain during an artistic experience, and specifically neurocinematics: the study of your brain on film.

The interactive conversation will feature guest cognitive neuroscientists and members of The Deconstructive Theatre Project's performance ensemble and creative team. The Deconstructive Theatre Project is a Brooklyn-based not-for-profit ensemble performance laboratory that exists to devise and premiere new multidisciplinary work. 

This is Your Brain on Art
dtpE - The Deconstructive Theatre Project EXPERIENCE, Event 2
Thursday, September 13, 2012 // 8:00 to 10:00 pm
195 Morgan Ave // $20 

CEREBRART - Memory Holes

In George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four the “memory holes” are mechanisms for the disappearance of inconvenient memories.  

Alzheimer Disease accounts for many cases of the cerebral “memory holes”  and shows heritability of up to 80%. The increasing burden of Alzheimer Disease, caused by aging of the world’s population, has led many scientists and policy makers to suggest that AD will become one of the major causes of economic and health distress in the next few decades. Alzheimer Disease predominantly affects episodic memory causing impaired cerebral functions and eventually a loss of one’s identity. The pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer Disease are extracellular plaques, intracellular tangles and neuronal death.

This CEREBRART work shows allegorically that as the cerebral cells die off, tiny “memory holes” appear in the brain.

Aug 24, 2012


This CEREBRART work interprets allegorically the Reflection phase. Socrates said that in order to lead a balanced life one must, "know thyself." Above all, reflect your life for "the unexamined life is not worth living". Not an easy task. The brain mechanisms mediating the ways in which the self can be known are extremely complex and include medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC). Like people who risk blindness by looking directly at the sun rather than at its reflected image in the water, Socrates appended, he had risked blinding his soul by trying to cognize the essence directly.

Nevertheless, Socrates reflected. And it was for this reason that the oracle proclaimed him to be the wisest of men.


Integration, Information, Motivation, Intention, Volition, Action and Reflection are closely related topics of  brain functioning. Our extended integrated action model is based on a psychological theory on human behavior and integrates concepts of  cognitive psychology, neurosciences and motivational theories. The model tries to explain, why a person shows or does not show certain actions in a situation where a specific action would have to be expected.  

This CEREBRART work interprets allegorically the Motivation phase, where a motive is formed that drives the person to think deeply about an action related to some challenge. Focusing on our model allows the brain to consider very different phenomena related to Integration, Information, Motivation, Intention, Volition, Action and Reflection to be treated as components of a unified cyclic process that unfolds when an organism faces a challenge or opportunity and could use that challenge to get a new, a higher level of healthy integration with the Biosphere.

Aug 23, 2012

CEREBRART - Information Circuits

CEREBRART - Information Circuits of the dentate gyrus. Dentate gyrus contains densely packed granule cells.

Granule cells extend their dendrites to receive sensory information from the perforant path axons.

Per CEREBRART ad Astrocytic Processes ...

This CEREBRART work is inspired by a brilliant recent publication and its authors very generously gave me permission for such an artistic interpretation of the data (M. Arizono, H. Bannai, K. Nakamura, F. Niwa, M. Enomoto, T. Matsuura, A. Miyamoto, M. W. Sherwood, T. Nakamura, K. Mikoshiba, Receptor-Selective Diffusion Barrier Enhances Sensitivity of Astrocytic Processes to Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor Stimulation. Sci. Signal. 5, ra27 (2012)).

It matches exceptionally well with CEREBRART philosophy of Brain-Time-Chaos. The museum of Emil Nolde in Seebüll and also his coast areas visions became an important source of inspiration for this painting, 

Aug 22, 2012

CEREBRART and Street Art?

Are there any links between CEREBRART and Street Art?

I am happy in that my life in both amateur art lover and professional scientist areas overlaps somehow when I enjoy looking at my favourite objects for amateur study - street arts,  the ones I preferentially seek out while strolling Europe’s great cities, - because not only the compositions are often interesting to look at and the colours usually pleasing to my eyes, but also even when the street artist's brain focuses on something entirely different, say abstract painting or caricature, there could be unexpectedly found some small hidden features of CEREBRART there.

Aug 21, 2012

Brain Painting is not very far from CEREBRART...

Brain Painting is not very far from CEREBRART...

In Brain Painting the cerebrally painted picture draws itself via the power of thoughts and, simultaneously, on the walls of Rostock‘s Hall of Art, the Ars Electronica Centre, and live into the web. Various renowned artists perform Brain Painting in their own atelier, and via live streaming the emerging paintings show up in the exhibition:


This CEREBRART work represents allegory of human volition.

Lightning is Zeus’s energizing power. But man’s motor power begins with cerebral volition. Many premotor and motor areas of the cerebral frontal lobe are closely associated with volition.  Giant pyramidal cells, also known as Betz cells, are the source of the axons that project to distant parts of the nervous system and send their impulses via motor cells to the muscles. Pyramidal cells have also an apical dendrite that extends towards the surface of the cerebral cortex. Epictetus declared that man’s volition is thoroughly in his power and no one, ‘not even Zeus himself has power to overcome it’.

Aug 18, 2012


CEREBRART action. Cortical motor homunculus in Brodmann area 4 (primary motor cortex of the human brain located in the posterior portion of the frontal lobe - precentral gyrus) has very large hands with an especially large thumb.

Motor homunculus paints left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC - Brodmann area 46) necessary for manipulating information in working memory. The environmental support is very important.

Aug 17, 2012


This piece of the CEREBRART presented recently the 8th FENS Forum of Neuroscience is about INTENTIONS. There are many ways of interpreting this CEREBRART work.

You may think of excitatory postsynaptic potentials caused by glutamatergic inputs at the dendrites of the spiny neurons which cause an action potential when the depolarization wave is strong enough upon entering the cell soma. This is a scientific side of CEREBRART. Or you may remember famous philosopher Gilbert Ryle which had Rodin’s most famous sculpture, The Thinker, bent over in concentrated thought, in mind when he asked the question, “What is The Thinker doing?” Or you may think of the judgment of Paris. Confronted with three beauties, Paris’s brain was required to think - to create intentions and then evaluate them and reach a decision as to which should receive the GOLDEN APPLE. Eventually, there was a moment for his brain (tI) when the period of generating intentions (I) began, and it lasted until he finally abandoned two of them (tV) - in other words, his brain created only one volition (V) - to act and move the GOLDEN APPLE toward Aphrodite, which according to myth was the unintentional cause of the Trojan War. Of course, there are many other ways of interpreting this CEREBRART work. I hope you enjoy it!

Aug 13, 2012

Does this picture possess ... CEREBRART?

This picture exhibits my individual point of view on the unique evolution of the human brain  (especially, hominin brain expansion and the vulnerability of human brain development)  and is made with the clear intention to be a work of CEREBRART.

An interesting question is: "Does this picture possess positive aesthetic and scientific properties needed to be qualified as CEREBRART?"

Aug 10, 2012


Our response to art stems from an irrepressible urge to recreate in our own brains the creative process—cognitive, emotional, and empathic—through which the artist produced the work. This creative urge of the artist and of the beholder presumably explains why essentially every group of human beings in every age and in every place throughout the world has created images, despite the fact that art is not a physical necessity for survival. Art is an inherently pleasurable and instructive attempt by the artist and the beholder to communicate and share with each other the creative process that characterizes every human brain—a process that leads to an Aha! moment, the sudden recognition that we have seen into another person’s mind, and that allows us to see the truth underlying both the beauty and the ugliness depicted by the artist.

From the Book, THE AGE OF INSIGHT by Eric R. Kandel. Copyright © 2012 by Eric R. Kandel.

Aug 9, 2012

Psilocybin Art

Perhaps not quite CEREBRART but really interesting from a CEREBRART point of view. A contemporary artist Brian Lewis Saunders has done at least one self-portrait every day for almost 16 years now, and will continue to do this until he dies. Every day,  Brian Lewis Saunders would take a different neuroactive drug and then draw his self-portrait while under the influence.

Just one example - psilocybin. The ability of psilocybin to cause perceptual distortions is linked to its influence on the activity of the prefrontal cortex - the anterior part of the frontal lobes of the brain, lying in front of the motor and premotor areas. This self-portrait clearly demonstrates some significant changes in the frontal area.

For more, visit his website.

Jul 24, 2012

Solrac is the artistic name of an internationally working Spanish artist, sculptor and architect. During his long career, Solrac has studied life sciences at the Facultad of Biological Sciences (the University of Sevilla) and investigated fish behaviour. Having a background and interest in biological sciences, he applies them in his artistic works, including some CEREBRART paintings.

Sculptor of His Own Brain

“Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain”
Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Although he became one of the founders of neuroscience, as a young man Ramón y Cajal wanted to be an artist. Therefore, vision had a central place in his scientific contributions. According to Ramón y Cajal, the most essential quality of a neuroscientist was the ability to see clearly.

Jul 21, 2012

(presented at the 8th FENS Forum of Neuroscience in Barcelona)

It wasn’t so long ago that the famous novelist and chemist C.P. Snow wrote his great book Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. His main conclusion was that the two cultures (scientific and humanistic-artistic) don’t understand one another much. After Viète, Descartes and Newton many scientists began to believe that every event must have a causal-mechanistic explanation. Scientists began to think that scientific symbols are the key to understanding the world, and to claim that, whenever possible, abstract symbols (that represent something else) and equations should replace artistic images and concrete descriptions.

Next, let’s move from metascience to neurosciences. In neurosciences, a prominent strategy is reduction - macro-level posits get reduced to underlying micro-level dynamics. Such a bottom-up strategy attempts to demonstrate how processes at more fundamental physical levels are causally responsible for processes described at higher levels. Any psychological phenomenon must ultimately connect with the molecular mechanisms in particular neurons.

The purpose of this paper is to destroy this simple-minded “Two Cultures dichotomy” and to provide a new integrated concept of CEREBRART, bridging these two cultures. According to this purpose we have proposed an idea of a metadisciplinary extended integrated model of brain (Gerbilsky, Rost et al., 2005) as a chaotically connected dynamic networks of seven modules: Integration, Information, Motivation, Intention, Volition, Action and Reflection.

CEREBRART visualizes artistically these brain functional networks. Instead of anatomical, histological, cytological or neurochemical decomposition (such as neuromediators and receptors, synapses, neurons, neural circuits, cortex layers and cortical regions) our integrated model favours a top-down approach (moving from the most general concepts such as the brain, time and chaos to a less general concept of distributed modular architecture and then to specific morphological, physiological, neurochemical and psychological data) where the brain can be interpreted both as chaos-generating and chaos-limiting dynamic system. Such an approach provides a good counterpart to a reductionistic neuroscience.

The two authors of this paper have different backgrounds. LG is a professor of histology with an interest in visual arts, and CY is an architect and artist with a basic background in biological sciences.

As such, we have decided to present our model of the brain histoarchitecture and function using CEREBRART - an integrated blend of scientific (histoarchitecture) and artistic (architecture and other visual arts) approaches.

CEREBRART follows the long neurological tradition of CEREBRI ANATOME - the co-operative work of Thomas Willis, a physician, who is regarded as the 'Father of Neurology', and Christopher Wren, the famous architect.

In conclusion, both the brains of scientists and artists would be served by CEREBRART by restoring an earlier balance between symbolic-cerebral and artistic creativity.