Thresholds of significance: some art and science collaboration
In the case of Deborah, I would be more interested to use neurosciences as a tool to analyze the way her brain functions when she manipulates visual versus verbal concepts, both being predominant in the work she showed us. For example, in the drawing below, she represents the mind of a patient with dementia. There is an explicit dialogue between the visual qualities in her work (ex: complex 3D structure floating in space, high contrasted black and white values) and the verbal and conceptual component (words in the bubbles, concept of empty bubbles referring to language loss in this patient).
Unfortunately, both artistic processes are so intertwined in her work that it would be hard to design an experiment to separate one from another - not talking about the whole thing happening in the tunnel of an MRI machine.
However, wouldn't it be fascinating -and controversial!- to compare how the brain is activated by predominantly conceptual versus predominantly visual art in general? Try out and compare your experience when you focus on each of the two pictures below, one after the other: do you think it triggered the same network of reactions in your brain?
This is part of a series of posts on the 11th International Conference on Neuroesthetics (September 2014).