[ISEA2011] Panel: Jane Grant – Neural Ghosts and The Focus of At­ten­tion

Panel Statement

Panel: NeuroArts

Con­scious­ness as at­ten­tion to mem­ory is a term that neu­ro­sci­en­tist Eu­gene Izhike­vich uses to de­scribe a phe­nom­e­non in which the cor­tex re-lives or re-vis­its a spe­cific pat­tern of neural ac­tiv­ity in the ab­sence of sen­sory in­for­ma­tion. The model brain or cor­tex, de­prived of stim­u­la­tion, jour­neys around its own tem­po­ral ar­chi­tec­tures con­jur­ing past ‘ex­pe­ri­ences’ or ‘mem­o­ries’, pulling them into the pre­sent. Ev­i­dence that these path­ways con­tinue to be re-vis­ited once stim­u­la­tion oc­curs again is com­pelling. Re­fer­ring to re­cent re­search in de­vel­op­ing the sonic art­work Ghost, and two ear­lier works: Thresh­old and The Frag­mented Or­ches­tra, all of which have at their core the Spike Tim­ing De­pen­dant Plas­tic­ity model of Eu­gene Izhike­vich, I will dis­cuss the phe­nom­ena of ‘sonic ghosts’ a term I have used to de­scribe the buffer­ing up of the neural past with the neural pre­sent.

  • Jane Grant is an in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary artist and aca­d­e­mic. Her work often draws on sci­en­tific ideas, both con­tem­po­rary and his­tor­i­cal. Her col­lab­o­ra­tive work with sci­en­tists, mu­si­cians, com­posers and de­sign­ers has re­sulted in award win­ning pro­jects in­clud­ing, The Frag­mented Or­ches­tra with John Matthias and Nick Ryan which was win­ner of the PRSF New Music Award, 2008 and re­ceived an Hon­orary Men­tion at Prix Ars Elec­tronic 2009, Hy­brid Arts Cat­e­gory. The Frag­mented Or­ches­tra was ex­hib­ited at FACT and 23 sites across the UK. Re­cent work in­cludes Soft Moon and Leav­ing Earth, both films in­flu­enced by as­tro­phys­i­cal sci­ence and lit­er­a­ture with spe­cific ref­er­ence to the writ­ten work of Italo Calvino and Stanis­law Lem. Her forth­com­ing pro­jects in­clude the in­ter­ac­tive sonic art­work Ghost, one of the de­vel­op­ments of The Frag­mented Or­ches­tra. In Ghost the tem­po­ral, topo­log­i­cal net­works and path­ways of the brain are ex­plored in con­junc­tion brain hal­lu­ci­na­tion or ‘sonic ghosts’. Other new works in­clude a se­ries of pho­to­graphic draw­ings re­gard­ing dark mat­ter that seek to ex­plore ways to rep­re­sent the un­seen in art and sci­ence. She was awarded an AHRC grant for the pro­ject Thresh­old – Merg­ing the Human Voice with Neu­ro­log­i­cal Time Pat­terns, and she has re­ceived fund­ing for her work from the Arts Coun­cil and the British Coun­cil. Jane is As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor (Reader) in Dig­i­tal Arts in the School of Media and Pho­tog­ra­phy, Prin­ci­pal Su­per­vi­sor, CiiA Node, Plan­e­tary Col­legium, and co-di­rec­tor of the art + sound re­search group, Uni­ver­sity of Ply­mouth, UK.

Full text (PDF) p. 1027-1030