Announcement
November 3, 2012

Always on my Mind: art and the neurosciences

Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art

One of the main functions of the nervous system is to organize the information it receives, create representations and plan emotional, motor and behavioural responses. This is the domain of the neurosciences, the discipline that is so complex and multiform that it requires a name in plural form. Just opening a newspaper, one can realize the extent of the interest inspired by the latest frontiers in this fascinating discipline: neuroesthetics, neuroeconomics, neuromarketing.

The main reason for the popularity of such studies is perhaps due to the fact that the basic questions regarding the brain are still unanswered, even today, with any kind of certainty. But today’s scientists have at their disposal an enormous quantity of data regarding the functioning of various parts of the nervous system. For this reason, art, the highest expressions of human complexity and one of the most sophisticated ways to represent sensations and emotions, provides one of the most precious documents on the functioning of our greatest organ, the brain.

Always on My Mind, a symposium to be held at the Luigi Pecci Centre For Contemporary Art in Prato the 10 and 11 November will explore these topics with public workshops and open conversations. The project was conceived by Marco Bazzini, Catterina Seia and Ludovica Lumer, who will be joined by some of the most important names connected to these disciplines, as well as artists and experts from other areas where the neurosciences have suggested and found concrete developments.

In respect to the past, this is a fresh, new and unusual artistic—scientific relationship, approached from various points of view by those who have made the greatest advances in the studies and research over the past years year, such as Semir Zeki, father of neuroaesthetics; Vittorio Gallese, who, together with Giacomo Rizzolati, discovered the mirror neurons that provided the basis for a neurophysiological study of the concept of empathy; and the art historian David Freedberg, who addressed this topic from a humanistic point of view based on the reactions that images evoke. Ugo Morelli, a psychologist, crosses disciplinary areas in the relationship between mind and beauty, in a research territory shared with Vittorio Gallese. In addition to these specialists and distinguished guests, there will be some major artists, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Cesare Pietroiusti, Marta Dell’Angelo and Marzia Migliora. Arabella Natalini, Anna Simioni, Enrico Grassi and Irene Sanesi, using their professional experiences, will direct the discussion toward examining the possible practical implications, in our daily life, that are opened up by the new frontiers of neuroscience, with a special focus on leadership in complex corporations in the first two cases and entrepreneurship in the last.

The two day programme will also include two particularly exciting events. On Saturday, Ludovica Lumer and Marta Dell’Angelo will hold a workshop for adults and children called “Fragmentations and paper dolls: The “sense of self” between art and neuroscience.” While on Sunday, everyone is invited to attend the collective efforts, a new element of the international project Rebirth-day launched by Michelangelo Pistoletto. This project has been organized in collaboration with the Educational Department of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, led by Anna Pironti.

The international symposium guests are:
Marta Dell’Angelo, artist.
David Freedberg, Professor of Art History at Columbia University.
Vittorio Gallese, Professor of Physiology at the Department of Neuroscience, University of Parma.
Enrico Grassi, Neurologist at the Surgical Unit of the Hospital in Prato.
Marzia Migliora, artist.
Ugo Morelli, Professor of Psychology of work and organization.
Arabella Natalini, art historian.
Cesare Pietroiusti, artist.
Michelangelo Pistoletto, artist.
Irene Sanesi, cultural economist.
Anna Simioni, Executive Vice President of Unicredit.
Semir Zeki, Professor of Neuroaesthetics at University College London.

More information about the symposium program on www.centropecci.it.

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