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Exhibition: ‘When the butterflies of the soul flutter their wings’ at LABoral, Spain

Text by CLOT Magazine

Ursula Damm

LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, a multidisciplinary institution that promotes access to transversal forms of knowledge and creative use of new technologies, presents When the butterflies of the soul flutter their wings with the idea of providing space to one of the most explored fields of research in the current cultural scenario.

Opened on December 11th, 2020 and running until April 24th, 2021, the exhibition curated by Karin Ohlenschläger investigates the world of neuroscience and artificial intelligence, converging upon the possibilities these two domains can bring to the surface through a mutual feeding.

The show revolves around the brain’s interest and functioning, aiming to map human cognitive processes to support the latest technological tools and developments.

Which potential lies within artworks based on neuro-technology and robotics, what art can suggest about the perceptual sphere shaping the mechanisms of our mind, and how artistic creation with AI can contribute to a more in-depth discernment of our psychic, emotional and intellectual dimensions, are the main queries enlivening the exhibition.

Specifically, at the heart of the project is a reflection on neurons, poetically defined by the neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal as the soul’s mysterious butterflies. Their beating wings may one day clarify the secret of mental life. Deciphering and unravelling this sophisticated and still partially unknown landscape is one of the international scientific community’s most challenging and fascinating tasks.

The displayed works explore how human inner patterns are affected by technology’s constant impact, aspiring to broaden our mental activities. The neural environment’s amplitude is questioned through installations, videos, photographs and participatory works resulting from the collaboration between artists, engineers, innovators and scientists.

Among the fourteen artists and groups involved are Guy Ben-Ary, Lisa Park, Ursula Damm, and Emanuel Gollob, very well-known by CLOT Magazine readers.

Focused on biotechnology as a facilitator for the comprehension of human life, on the use of sensory technologies to delve into the relational sphere, on interaction systems such as machine learning, genetic algorithms, and neural networks, and on the links existing between aesthetic research, human/AI interrelations, and robotics, they address through their practice the key topics proposed by the exhibition.

(Image courtesy of the artist)
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