Immersive exhibition gives visitors an unprecedented view inside the human brain

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Immersive exhibition gives visitors an unprecedented view inside the human brain
Visitors walk into artistic renditions of a brain at the cellular level — encountering a larger-than-life neuron, the “thinking cells” of the brain.

NEW YORK, NY.- ARTECHOUSE, a pioneer in the field of innovative, technology-driven, and experiential art, announces the opening of Life of a Neuron at its New York City location in Chelsea Market. This boundary-pushing, immersive exhibition created by ARTECHOUSE Studio, in collaboration with Society for Neuroscience (SfN), examines the far-reaching potential at the intersection of art and science.

The exhibition invites visitors to witness the beauty and complexities of one of science’s greatest mysteries — the human brain — while following the life of a neuron from pre-birth to death. A culmination of three years of research, study and development, the exhibition’s foundation is the dialogue of discovery between neuroscientists and multidisciplinary artists. The world’s leading neuroscientists and experts came together with ARTECHOUSE to reconstruct a human neuron from the prefrontal cortex — a scientific marvel on its own — that served as the anchor for this enlightening and thought-provoking exhibition. In Life of a Neuron, science is not merely a muse to create inspirational art, but the art furthers the understanding of science; a fitting relationship celebrating the 50th anniversary of the SfN made possible by the interdisciplinary collaboration.

“What I find so exciting about this exhibition is that it is the first of its kind to use data like this to bring key neuroscience principles to life. Through the work of an incredible group of scientists organized by SfN, collaborating alongside the exciting group of artists organized by ARTECHOUSE, we’re able to bring to the world an exhibit like no other—artistic interpretations of scientific data and principles that allow the public to experience neuroscience in a whole new way. It is my hope that this exhibition will spark curiosity in those who see it and inspire them to learn more about the universe between their ears,” said lead neuroscientist for Life of a Neuron John Morrison, PhD, UC Davis Distinguished Professor, Director, California National Primate Research Center, Professor, Department of Neurology, School of Medicine and Secretary, Society for Neuroscience.

Everything known about the neuron — a specialized cell that transmits nerve impulses — is an acme of years of rigorous study fostered by organizations like SfN. The challenge of creating Life of a Neuron was making educated choices about how to package the available knowledge into a story that both informs audiences and inspires them to learn more about the brain. Utilizing the power of storytelling through technology-driven art at a caliber only possible at ARTECHOUSE, this exhibition educates audiences about the neuron.

Visitors will walk into artistic renditions of a brain at the cellular level — encountering a larger-than-life neuron, the “thinking cells” of the brain. Depicting the life stages of a human neuron from neural migration to aging, guests are surrounded by a highly immersive sound design that tells a universal life story, beginning with a baby crying and including sounds of laughter, children playing in a playground, people singing happy birthday, an ambulance siren, and finally a flatline. Life of a Neuron presents an opportunity for audiences to experience human neural data visualizations in a visceral way through the latest creative technologies that innovatively tell the story of the human experience — the story of ourselves.

“What’s fascinating and revolutionary about the narrative we are telling with this groundbreaking collaboration through Life of a Neuron, is the ability to have the audience experience something that is happening inside all of us by using the latest technical tools. It’s an incredible opportunity to experience the science that we have been studying for the past 50 years in a new artistic way that speaks to the human experience,” said Sandro Kereselidze, ARTECHOUSE Founder & Chief Creative Officer.

Life of a Neuron, which first premiered at ARTECHOUSE DC in fall of 2021, is presented on an 18-channel, CAVE floor-to-wall surround projection array, combined with a 31.5-channel spatialized audio system showcasing ARTECHOUSE’s state-of-the-art capabilities. The central 20-minute audiovisual installation in the Immersion Gallery illustrates the universal life of a neuron at a cellular level from pre-birth to death. The installation is produced by ARTECHOUSE Studio, featuring visuals by Gil Castro, Simon Alexander-Adams, Emmett Feldman, Scott Pagano and Josef Pelz, original music and SFX by Mehmet Ünal Studio, in collaboration with scientists John Morrison, PhD, Dani Dumitriu, MD, PhD, Corrado Cali, PhD, William Janssen, Matt Wimsatt, MFA, CMI and Kristin Anderson, PhD.

The main installation is supported by technology-driven interactive artworks exploring vision, stress, addiction, and the neural connectivity from a neuron’s perspective.

● Edge of Illumination by SYNTHESTRUCT, in collaboration with scientists Robert Wurtz, PhD & Bevil Conway, PhD, explores the topic of vision utilizing a real-time simulation to artistically present the pathway of light from our eyes to our visual cortex, revealing different ways that light is processed by our brain along the way.

● Interactive installation Eureka! by Akiko Yamashita collaborated with scientist Kristin Anderson, PhD to examine the science of neural connectivity based on Hebb’s postulate that states “neurons that fire together, wire together.”

● Imposter by Gil Castro, in collaboration with scientist Eric Nestler, MD, PhD, is an abstract, interactive visual simulation that reveals how drug abuse affects our neural connections. The simulation is mimicking, blocking, or producing neurotransmitters, related deeply to our reward system.

● Eyes of the Science by Ciphrd, in collaboration with scientist Kristin Anderson, PhD, is an artistic recreation of a standard microscopy used by neuroscientists. The neuron samples are created through agent-based simulations presenting the input and output features that characterize how neurons process data.

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