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.