Brains: the mind as matter

April 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Warning: the following exhibition contains images and exhibits that some visitors might find disturbing.

This is what greets you as you enter into the Brains: the mind as matter exhibition at the Wellcome Collection.

With real human brains on display it’s a fair warning to the more squeamish of us – but if you can get over the gross factor it is well worth a visit.

Asking, “not what brains do to us, but what we have done to brains”, the exhibition is a collection of over 150 artefacts including artwork, manuscripts, video and photography, along with the brain specimens.

Set amongst pristine white-walled partitions the exhibit is broken into four parts: measuring and classifying, mapping and modelling, cutting and treating and giving and taking.

Each section gives the visitor a mixture of the artistic, the scientific and the downright disturbing.

Art within science

Particularly beautiful is the artwork ‘My Soul’ by Katharine Dowson, created from the artists own MRI scan.

The laser-etched brain in a lead crystal glass box plays a trick on the mind. Although it appears as though we are looking at a physical object, in reality what we are seeing is transparent.

Another stunning example of science meeting art is the Resin model of ‘Corrosion cast of blood vessels in the brain.’

Simply looking like a series of red wires twisted into the shape of a brain, the cast is created by filling blood vessels with liquid plastic that solidifies. When the surrounding tissue is eroded away what is left is a perfect representation of the brain’s blood vessels.

Who knew science could be so pretty?

But for those more interested in the gruesome there is a perfect specimen of a human brain, bits of tumours that have been removed, and even slices of Einstein’s brain.

On until June 17 there is plenty of time to get over your squeamishness and visit this fascinating and disturbing exhibition.

Location: Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road. Nearest Tube: Euston Square.

Originally posted on The Bowler Hat

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