A group of WID’s Frontier Fellows offered a performance installation exploring the neuroscience and interpretation of physical pain.
Supported by WID and the Department of Theatre and Drama, “flickering quivering pulsing sharp” brought spectators into relation with the invisible and indeterminate qualities of physical pain. As scientists and scholars share their disciplinary ways of looking at what cannot be seen, spectators made their way through tensions among “ways of knowing” via science and art.
The live art event was composed of two distinct but overlapping companion pieces: A video work responding to accumulating neuroscientific research suggesting the meanings we make of pain affect the pain itself as well as a live performance work that fleshed out the relationship between pain and representation. Three simultaneous and looping performance lectures responded to assumptions that pain resists representation. Together, the work of former Frontier Fellows Erin Hood, Julian Motzkin, Amy Cannestra and David Ruhl suggests there’s more than meets the eye.
Video produced by Jason Bahling, Erin Hood and Amy Cannestra
Astronauts fresh off spacewalks often report that a certain faint, acrid smell tends to cling to their equipment. NASA astronaut Don Pettit described it as “a rather pleasant sweet metallic sensation” akin to “welding fumes,” while others have said it reminds them of charred meat.
They were probably smelling polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are compounds produced when stars and planets form. According to Jeff Oishi, a research scientist at the Museum of Natural History in New York, PAHs are present on Earth too—they’re produced when you BBQ! But if you travel 26,000 light years to a dust cloud at the center of the Milky Way called Sagittarius B2, you might catch a whiff of raspberries and maybe rum.
This cloud is stuffed with ethyl formate, an ester that gives both treats their flavor. “Space is pretty boozy,” Oishi says. “There’s no liquid alcohol, but a lot of different kinds of alcohols have been observed.” The constellation Aquila contains enough space booze that, if liquefied, it could fill 400 trillion trillion pints. Interstellar pub crawl, anyone?
Smell the universe!
A reformed lumberjack must harness the POWER OF NATURE in order to fight an 8-BIT MUTANT WASP MONSTER that is destroying his friends and his home.
• Premiered at TAAFI 2014
• Screened at Animation Block Party 2014 - WINNER of BEST MUSIC VIDEO
• Screening at Ottawa International Animation Festival (September, 2014)
If you rub your closed eyes, you’ll “see” a virtual rainbow of colors, shapes, squiggles, and lines. Those are called phosphenes, and the eye and the brain work together to create these weird little visual blips.
Phosphenes occur when there is no external visual stimulus. That can happen when you close your eyes or when you’re focused on scenery with little to no input as to depth or changes, such as a dark highway at night.
People who spend long periods of time in sensory deprivation or meditation often report seeing visions, which can be chalked up to the appearance of phosphenes.
The presence of physical stimulus to the eye, like pushing on the eyeball, will create temporary phosphenes, and more traumatic events like head injuries can create permanent squiggles.
In these cases, phosphenes are present because the visual centers of the brain are active without the presence of external visual stimuli.
For example, when conscious patients undergoing brain surgery had different areas of their brains electrically stimulated, they reported seeing phosophenes.
In studies of blind people, it’s been found that the appearance of phosphenes happens in different areas along the sight pathway between the eye and the brain, depending on what part of the visual system has been damaged.
Humans aren’t the only ones who can see these dancing bits of light and color—the phenomenon has been observed in animals as well.
I invented the trident and a laser beam once…
Tumblr Tuesday: Monkeys!
The Fauna Foundation is Canada’s only chimpanzee sanctuary and it serves vegan sweet potato poutine to its heartbreakingly sensitive guests. We held and petted a Capuchin monkey this weekend. It reached out its tiny hand and wrapped it around one of our fingers.
An Unnatural History
Possibly the world’s only collection of vintage monkey and ape photographs, some of which are of Capuchin monkeys, the kind that we held and petted this weekend. We cried three times afterward, moved by the experience itself and dizzy over the fact that our life had led to this. An Unnatural History is definitely Tumblr’s best source for monkeys hanging out with dogs.
Monkeys in Art History
Could this diverse selection of monkey-centric art actually be the work of a single, spectacularly talented primate? We hadn’t considered the possibility until we saw our own reflection in the eyes of a Capuchin monkey this weekend. An ageless wisdom was writ into its expression, and in that moment our two species felt closer than we had ever thought possible.
Photos by a primatologist, which is something you’ll wish you majored in after holding and petting a Capuchin monkey. We majored in Classics and assumed we would live a solitary life of the mind. Children were never a part of this picture…but to hold this fragile life in our hands, we were suddenly filled with a love too big for one heart to contain. Primatography includes special bonus shots of sloths and other mammals.
Primate a riffic!
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