The Most Elaborate Visualization Of The Human Brain To Date

These stunning images showcase the incredible complexity of the human brain through an explosive fusion of art and science.
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The most elaborate artistic visualization of the brain in the world, the work highlights what is happening inside the human brain while an individual is looking at such a masterpiece. Artists Dr. Greg Dunn and Dr. Brian Edwards hope this work – entitled Self Reflected because it is your brain perceiving itself – will increase appreciation for the brain’s complexity through the power of art.

Brain Art
Image: GREG DUNN AND WILL DRINKER / CATERS. The entire Self Reflected microetching under white light. The work combines space and time because it is illuminated by a number of different lights that are constantly changing in color and brightness, so that the fine lines representing neural pathways seem to shimmer as they process thought. Further complexity is seen when the viewer moves around the piece, for the three-dimensionality of the etched surface reflect different colours depending on the viewer’s angle of perspective.

While other disciplines often struggle to convey complex, multi-layered concepts, art is uniquely positioned to communicate ideas that are difficult, if not impossible to express otherwise. Self Reflected takes advantage of art’s power to use perception and emotion to implant a deeply nuanced idea and make direct connections about the brain of the viewer directly into the brain of the viewer.

Image: GREG DUNN AND WILL DRINKER / CATERS. The parietal gyrus where movement and vision are integrated. Without the accompanying light show to impart movement to the experience, Self Reflection simply would not work. It needs to combine movement and vision to impart meaning.

The visual art form is ideally suited for the task of opening one’s awareness to the most amazing wonder of our bodies because it displays the beauty of the brain’s immensely vast and orderly structure while at the same time showcasing its chaos. The brain’s neurons form branching fractal patterns that anyone familiar with chaos theory will recognize, yet not even our most sophisticated medical imagine technology can map the deepest, tiniest levels of neural pathways.

Brain art
Image: GREG DUNN AND WILL DRINKER / CATERS. The thalamus and basal ganglia, sorting senses, initiating movement, and making decisions. This region of the brain gets a heavy workout when viewing Self Reflected, because experience the artwork calls upon all these activities at the same time.

To illustrate the brain’s unique combination of randomness and order, the artists chose to paint each one individually using the technique of blowing ink on the canvas with jets of air. This combines the deliberation of the artist with the unpredictability of the technique to mimic what actually happens in the brain’s structure.

Brain art
Image:: GREG DUNN AND WILL DRINKER / CATERS. The visual cortex, the region located at the back of the brain that processes visual information. As a visual piece, Self Reflected uses the brain’s ability to turn visual stimulation into cogent thought by presenting a multi-layered experience that, like the fractal neural pathways it depicts, leads the viewer’s understanding down through increasingly more nuanced levels of experience and comprehension.

The actual artwork measures 96″ by 130″, and shows a slice of human brain at a magnification of about 22 times.