Wellcome Collection explores the edges of consciousness
News / Published: 4 February 2016
Wellcome Collection today opens a new exhibition examining the universal yet mysterious topic of conscious experience.
‘States of Mind: Tracing the Edges of Consciousness’ brings together the work of artists, psychologists, philosophers and neuroscientists to investigate the terrain between consciousness and unconsciousness.
This fascinating subject has long been of interest to artists and scientists alike. Curator Emily Sargent says: “We all know what it is like to be conscious, but it remains a challenge to truly define it.”
Rather than seeking to do so, the exhibition examines a range of different perspectives around its edges - those moments or states of being between wakefulness and sleep, feeling and anaesthesia, awareness and oblivion.
Historical objects, films, contemporary artworks and a changing programme of installations explore phenomena like sleepwalking, synaesthesia and disorders of memory, and what can happen when our typical conscious experience is interrupted, damaged or undermined.
The exhibition follows on from Ann Veronica Janssens’ disorientating mist installation ‘yellowbluepink’, which posed questions around individual perception.
It features installations by artists Imogen Stidworthy, Kerry Tribe and Shona Illingworth, as well as the work of Carla MacKinnon, Louise K Wilson, A. R. Hopwood, Mary Kelly and Aya Ben Ron.
Other objects and artworks include:
- the papers of Francis Crick
- neuron drawings by Santiago Ramón y Cajal
- a preparatory drawing for Henry Fuseli’s 1781 painting, The Nightmare
- the 1920 film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari.
'States of Mind: Tracing the Edges of Consciousness' runs at Wellcome Collection from 4 February to 16 October 2016.
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