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Magic Forest: a time based slide dissolve work

Magic Forest: a time based slide dissolve work
Magic Forest: a time based slide dissolve work
Magic Forest is a time-based/sculptural piece of work that was produced for an art exhibition in the science Museum in London. It was funded by an AHRC grant. It was exhibited in the Science Museum, London. Since then it has gained some status as a work that reflects the developing complexity of the brain. The final work ‘Magic Forest’ was shown at the Science Museum in March 2002, at the Rotterdam Film Festival, Rotterdam, Holland, 2003 and at the Natuurmuseum, Rotterdam, a show called ‘Mensbeeld’, in 2004, in ‘Simply Complex’ at the Design Museum in Zurich in 2005, and in ‘Neuroculture’, at the Westport Art Centre in Connecticut, USA in 2006. It has been written about in a number of books and photographs of it have appeared. The Wellcome Trust have commissioned a permanent sculptural version of Magic Forest which is on display in their new public access building in Eston Road, London. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Magic Forest: an introduction The work arose from a collaboration with Dr Richard Wingate, of the Medical Research Council Centre for Developmental Neurology, at Kings College, London. The work tracks the development, proliferation, and organisation of neurones in the growing brain. The work reflects 1. The changing organisation in the brain, developing to being capable of holding memories, and 2. The process of collecting the raw data for such scientific work through the use of the laser confocal microscope. The work starts with the location of the growing brain in the skull and proceeds with an ever-growing forest of neurones developing on the screens; the mass increases, filling the whole screen with layers and layers of neurones in different colours. The work ends when the system collapses and the neurones disappear, blackness returns and the skull is shown again getting larger and larger and the work begins to cycle around once more. Each cycle lasts about fifteen minutes. The colours in the work reflect the fluorescence used and seen in the staining of individual neurones, which produce the images under the confocal microscope. Slices and snapshots: reconstructing brain cells. The brain consists of millions of neurons, each a finely branching microscopic structure that reaches out for near and distant neighbours; they contribute to a distributed circuitry whose logic remains one of the greatest mysteries of biology. Structure and function are synonymous. The geometry of the neuron determines its interconnections and is a physical manifestation of the functional processing of the electrical signals it receives. The complexity and beauty of its structure also reflects the developmental constraints that shaped its growth. Over a hundred years ago, the pioneer anatomist, Santiago Ramon y Cajal, sliced up resin-impregnated brains which had been stained by a capricious potassium dichromate-silver process invented by Camillo Golgi. For reasons that are still not fully understood, a few cells in a thousand turn completely black, their fine processes packed with dense particles. By studying the fragments of cell distributed through the thin slices of brain, individual neurons were imaginatively reconstructed and giving rise to a model of the cellular composition of different brain regions, their interconnections and even the direction of the flow of information. Prior to Golgi's stain the very existence of cells in the brain was hotly debated. Contrary evidence suggested that the brain was a continuous mesh of interconnected fibres. A theory that was eventually superseded, as the fine structure of neurons was uncovered in the early part of the twentieth century. Today, our understanding of the brain still requires the imaginative and computer-aided analysis of slices through brain tissue. By using fluorescent dyes, slices no longer have to be collected using a sharpened blade. Laser scanning confocal microscopes can capture sections of stained neurons optically, giving unprecedented images of the three-dimensional living brain cells retained within computer memory. Just as our concepts of neuroantaomy rely on sections of space, our ideas of how neurons grow come from snapshots in time. Neurons are born within the inner lining of the ventricular cavities that lie at the centre of the brain. They migrate into outer layers of neurons forming layers and nuclei populations of cells serving a particular function. They extend fine fibres, reaching for appropriate neighbours to communicate with. One of these, the axon, contributes to information highways connecting distant regions of the brain. Finally, connections and fibres are remodelled as information itself shapes the structure of individual cells. Piecing together brain cell structure at different time-points has begun to give clues as to how cells might interact and shape themselves as they grow. However our model of brain development is still derived from glimpses of individual cells or by identifying populations by means which inevitably obscure the fine details of individual cells. Sections and snapshots remain, for the time being, the basis of our understanding of neuroanatomy. Richard Wingate, King's College, London A permanent version of Magic Forest is being put in the new Wellcome trust building on the Euston Road in January 2007. Key note speaker at Close Encounters. The 4th Biannual Conference of the SLSA, Society for Science, Literature and the Arts, Amsterdam, 13 16 June 2006. The key work which was talked about was Magic Forest. Invited. Multiple visions: Art and Neuroscience from Turner to the Present, Oxford Art History Department seminar cycle, key note presentation, Oxford University. A film version of ‘Magic Forest’ was shown in Munich, Germany, for the ESOF, European Science Open Forum 2006, organised and displayed by the Wellcome Trust.
Carnie, Andrew
0e37068b-806c-432c-a8ba-a0dfa567eca4
Carnie, Andrew
0e37068b-806c-432c-a8ba-a0dfa567eca4

Carnie, Andrew (2002) Magic Forest: a time based slide dissolve work.

Record type: Art Design Item

Abstract

Magic Forest is a time-based/sculptural piece of work that was produced for an art exhibition in the science Museum in London. It was funded by an AHRC grant. It was exhibited in the Science Museum, London. Since then it has gained some status as a work that reflects the developing complexity of the brain. The final work ‘Magic Forest’ was shown at the Science Museum in March 2002, at the Rotterdam Film Festival, Rotterdam, Holland, 2003 and at the Natuurmuseum, Rotterdam, a show called ‘Mensbeeld’, in 2004, in ‘Simply Complex’ at the Design Museum in Zurich in 2005, and in ‘Neuroculture’, at the Westport Art Centre in Connecticut, USA in 2006. It has been written about in a number of books and photographs of it have appeared. The Wellcome Trust have commissioned a permanent sculptural version of Magic Forest which is on display in their new public access building in Eston Road, London. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Magic Forest: an introduction The work arose from a collaboration with Dr Richard Wingate, of the Medical Research Council Centre for Developmental Neurology, at Kings College, London. The work tracks the development, proliferation, and organisation of neurones in the growing brain. The work reflects 1. The changing organisation in the brain, developing to being capable of holding memories, and 2. The process of collecting the raw data for such scientific work through the use of the laser confocal microscope. The work starts with the location of the growing brain in the skull and proceeds with an ever-growing forest of neurones developing on the screens; the mass increases, filling the whole screen with layers and layers of neurones in different colours. The work ends when the system collapses and the neurones disappear, blackness returns and the skull is shown again getting larger and larger and the work begins to cycle around once more. Each cycle lasts about fifteen minutes. The colours in the work reflect the fluorescence used and seen in the staining of individual neurones, which produce the images under the confocal microscope. Slices and snapshots: reconstructing brain cells. The brain consists of millions of neurons, each a finely branching microscopic structure that reaches out for near and distant neighbours; they contribute to a distributed circuitry whose logic remains one of the greatest mysteries of biology. Structure and function are synonymous. The geometry of the neuron determines its interconnections and is a physical manifestation of the functional processing of the electrical signals it receives. The complexity and beauty of its structure also reflects the developmental constraints that shaped its growth. Over a hundred years ago, the pioneer anatomist, Santiago Ramon y Cajal, sliced up resin-impregnated brains which had been stained by a capricious potassium dichromate-silver process invented by Camillo Golgi. For reasons that are still not fully understood, a few cells in a thousand turn completely black, their fine processes packed with dense particles. By studying the fragments of cell distributed through the thin slices of brain, individual neurons were imaginatively reconstructed and giving rise to a model of the cellular composition of different brain regions, their interconnections and even the direction of the flow of information. Prior to Golgi's stain the very existence of cells in the brain was hotly debated. Contrary evidence suggested that the brain was a continuous mesh of interconnected fibres. A theory that was eventually superseded, as the fine structure of neurons was uncovered in the early part of the twentieth century. Today, our understanding of the brain still requires the imaginative and computer-aided analysis of slices through brain tissue. By using fluorescent dyes, slices no longer have to be collected using a sharpened blade. Laser scanning confocal microscopes can capture sections of stained neurons optically, giving unprecedented images of the three-dimensional living brain cells retained within computer memory. Just as our concepts of neuroantaomy rely on sections of space, our ideas of how neurons grow come from snapshots in time. Neurons are born within the inner lining of the ventricular cavities that lie at the centre of the brain. They migrate into outer layers of neurons forming layers and nuclei populations of cells serving a particular function. They extend fine fibres, reaching for appropriate neighbours to communicate with. One of these, the axon, contributes to information highways connecting distant regions of the brain. Finally, connections and fibres are remodelled as information itself shapes the structure of individual cells. Piecing together brain cell structure at different time-points has begun to give clues as to how cells might interact and shape themselves as they grow. However our model of brain development is still derived from glimpses of individual cells or by identifying populations by means which inevitably obscure the fine details of individual cells. Sections and snapshots remain, for the time being, the basis of our understanding of neuroanatomy. Richard Wingate, King's College, London A permanent version of Magic Forest is being put in the new Wellcome trust building on the Euston Road in January 2007. Key note speaker at Close Encounters. The 4th Biannual Conference of the SLSA, Society for Science, Literature and the Arts, Amsterdam, 13 16 June 2006. The key work which was talked about was Magic Forest. Invited. Multiple visions: Art and Neuroscience from Turner to the Present, Oxford Art History Department seminar cycle, key note presentation, Oxford University. A film version of ‘Magic Forest’ was shown in Munich, Germany, for the ESOF, European Science Open Forum 2006, organised and displayed by the Wellcome Trust.

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Accepted/In Press date: March 2002

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 156661
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/156661
PURE UUID: 2e5406d2-444a-4faf-9203-15b2195a71d7

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Date deposited: 01 Jun 2010 13:08
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 12:42

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