[spectre] 1st Activist Neuroaesthetics Online Symposium March 5th and 6th RSVP

Art Brain info at artbrain.org
Fri Mar 5 02:51:29 CET 2021

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Warren Neidich, Activist Neuroaesthetics, 2005-2020. Courtesy of the

Symposium: March 5–6, CET/Berlin

activistneuroaesthetics.art ( http://activistneuroaesthetics.art/ )
Instagram ( https://www.instagram.com/activistneuroaesthetics/ ) /
Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/activistneuroaesthetics/ )

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of artbrain.org (
http://artbrain.org/ ), Activist Neuroaesthetics is a festival of
events (curated by Warren Neidich, Susanne Prinz and Sarrita Hunn)
including a symposium, three-part exhibition, conference, screenings,
and publications, developed by lead institution Verein zur Förderung
von Kunst und Kultur am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz e.V. along with various
local partners that will take place online and at different venues on
Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin over the course of 2021.

Activist Neuroaesthetics symposium

The first Activist Neuroaesthetics symposium will take place March
5-6, 2021 and includes a number of important thinkers to Activist
Neuroaesthetics including Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Cecile Malaspina,
Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Warren Neidich, Victoria
Pitts-Taylorand Charles T. Wolfe, with a panel discussion moderated by
Elena Agudio. This event will also form the basis for a book on
Activist Neuroaesthetics to be published by Archive Books later this
Under cognitive capitalism, the brain and mind are the new factories
of the 21st century. We are no longer proletarians working on assembly
lines, but cognitarians generating behavioural data that is bought and
sold on futures markets (Zuboff, 2019). This data is not passive, but
constitutes a new distribution that polices the sensible, perceptible,
and cognitive through apparatuses of control such as Google Bubbles
and Meme Magic. Just as the pioneers of cognitive capitalism realized
the coming digital economy would create a crisis for labor and the
production of subjectivity, so too another crisis is brewing
exemplified by neural-based technologies (and their corporate
counterparts like brain-computer interfaces and Neuralink) which focus
upon the brain’s plasticity as its locus for capitalist speculation.

Activist Neuroaesthetics, as first defined by Warren Neidich,  is a
generalized theoretical and aesthetic approach that refutes the dogma
of what is known as Positive Neuroaesthetics. Positivist
Neuroaesthetics is a reductionist methodology that attempts to explain
the aesthetic field and its production (artworks) by referring to
neuroanatomical models aided by technology (i.e. neuroimaging). Its
goals are to explain artworks, such as paintings, through its effects
upon the brain’s neural processing itself rather than as something
happening independently, or outside of the material brain's
jurisdiction (for example, in relation to events and processes
happening in the world of art). It refutes the importance of the
history of art as a causal factor in art production and conspires with
capitalism to recuperate its most radical claims in order to make it
palatable and normalized.
Activist Neuroaesthetics rather concerns artists using their own
histories, techniques, apparatuses, materials and theoretical
constructs to investigate the same fields of knowledge as cognitive
neuroscience, but to produce an alternative discourse concerning
perception and cognition where events going on inside and outside the
brain coevolve together and our cognitive abilities are expanded,
rather than normalized. Here, the brain not only refers to the
intracranial brain consisting of neurologic matter, but also the
situated body and the extracranial brain composed of gestalts,
affordances, linguistic atmospheres and socially-engaged interactions.
Activist Neuroaesthetics refuses the cynicism of Big Data, neural
consumerism and DARPA generated technologies (such as optogenetics),
and instead promotes an ethics of neural plastic emancipation and
neural diversity to produce artistic facts, rather than scientific
ones, that are organized into a generalized paradigm of resistance.
The Activist Neuroaesthetics symposium will be followed by a
three-part exhibition (Brain Without Organs, Sleep and Altered States
of Consciousness, and Telepathy and New Labor) at Verein zur
Förderung von Kunst und Kultur am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz e.V. on view
May through August.
In July, an Activist Neuroaesthetics conference will take place in
collaboration with Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art in continued
celebration of the 25th anniversary of artbrain.org (
http://artbrain.org/ ).

About artbrain.org ( http://artbrain.org/ )

Over the last 25 years, artbrain.org ( http://artbrain.org/ ) has
developed alternative vocabularies and practices with which to rethink
the fields that describe sensation, perception and cognition. Founded
in 1996, artbrain.org ( http://artbrain.org/ ) was established by
Warren Neidich and Nathalie Angles. Since 1998, Neidich has continued
the project and developed the term Activist Neuroaesthetics to
describe an enactive approach to neuroaesthetics that not only
understands the importance of neural plasticity in the material brain,
but recognizes art as a generator of diversity which has the capacity
to induce complexity and variability—an important factor for
understanding and consciously enacting social and political
This project is made possible with support from Hauptstadtkulturfonds.


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