Art with neuroscience on a par

Freiburg, November 13, 2017

In June 2017, the Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience launched an open call inviting artists to approach cutting-edge research questions in computational neuroscience from an artistic perspective. The open call was headlined “On Display – An Artistic View on Computational Neuroscience / Auf dem (Bild)schirm: Computational Neuroscience im Blickwinkel der Kunst”; the final outcome will be shown to the general public free of charge at the Science and Society Session of the Bernstein Conference in Berlin from September 26-28, 2018.

In October, Yutaka Makino was selected by the international jury of renowned professionals in science and art. Makino is a Berlin-based Japanese artist with an extensive interdisciplinary artistic profile at the intersection of art, music, philosophy, architecture and not least science. Upon hearing from the jury’s decision, Makino commented, “I’m looking forward to this project and I’m delighted to be given the opportunity of working so closely with researchers from the Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience.”

Makino’s proposed installation provides a multisensory experimental set-up. It focuses on the perception of motion and spatial orientation, in particular on the subjective perception of time as a key influential factor. Subjective time perception is altered when people are asked to perform a mentally demanding task. As a result, people tend to perceive the time they need as shorter than the actual elapsed time. To Makino, it is thus well worth exploring how this altered perception of time also affects our perception of space and our self-orientation. In his set-up without stable markers, the planned installation’s ‘fluidity’ will produce an unstable environment for the visitors, which constantly challenges their experienced behaviors and memories.

In the weeks and months to come, Makino intends to collaborate with Thomas Brandt and Stefan Glasauer of the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Munich. The artist is excited about this prospect: “I believe my practice enormously benefits from their research in motion perception and the perception of spatial orientation. Together with them and their teams, I hope to discover a research subject, which holds significance for both science and art.”

About the artist

Yutaka Makino was born in Tochigi, Japan in 1976. He studied Earth science, computer music and visual arts in Japan, the Netherlands and the USA. Since 2010, he lives and works in Berlin. On the basis of research into areas such as phenomenology, experimental psychology, psychoacoustics, neuroscience and systems theory, Makino probes the processes of perception in experimental setups. His performances and installations provide acoustically and visually conditioned environments that make processes of perception tangible to the perceivers and provoke reflection on the acts of perception.


The project is funded by the Schering Stiftung and the Bernstein Association for Computational Neuroscience.

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