Cardiff is home to one of the country’s most prestigious neuroscience institutes, the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Center (CUBRIC) a powerhouse of brilliant minds and cutting edge technology that aims to bring together world-leading expertise in brain mapping with the very latest in brain imaging and brain stimulation.
Their goal is to “understand brain and behaviour in health and disease through advanced imaging and cognitive methods” – but they also extend their work beyond the walls of the lab and into the realm of the studio.
CUBRIC commissioned three artists, of which I was one, to create “artsci” works that celebrate and reflect the research and images they produce. Through various mediums, each artist produced works inspired by the work of brilliant researchers, who collaborated with every artist to help them appreciate and communicate specific scientific concepts.
My work, a project we titled NEW SIGNALS, is finally complete. I would like to thank all the collaborators I had the pleasure to work with:
- Dr Leandro Beltrachini, Brain Imaging Group, School of Physics and Astronomy
- Professor Kevin Murphy Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow,
- Dr Emma Tallantyre, Clinical Senior Lecturerin the Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neuroscience in the School of Medicine
- Alex Goodall of the Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust
I also had awe-inspiring exchanges with Fabrizio Fasano, Collaboration Scientist at Siemens Healthineers, advice from CUBRIC Ying Lin, Wellcome Trust Strategic Award WTSA and CUBRIC Project Manager and feedback and encouragement from the Director Professor Derek Jones of CUBRIC
These are the results of two years of research, collaboration and inspiration...
150cm x 180cm
Acrylic on Canvas
Collaborators: Dr. Leandro Beltrachini and Dr. Kevin Murphy
Professor Matt Griffin, Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy, recommended Dr Beltrachini and Dr Murphy to work with me for my NEW SIGNALS project. “It is interesting, the possibility of immortalising the alliance between Physics and CUBRIC in an artistic way,” commented Dr Griffin. As I had been commissioned recently by the School of Physics and Astronomy for 'Infinite LIGO Dreams' it was natural to carry on the connection.
Dr Beltrachini, Professor Murphy and I decided to create an artwork combining images from electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRi) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTi) to celebrate their research. We also discussed epilepsy; Dr Beltrachini explained how he creates simulations that can more accurately predict where an epileptic seizure will start in the brain. These discussions with Professor Murphy and Dr Beltrachini inspired me to incorporate images of blood vessels, tractography, eigenstates and EEG into the artsci work.
Lightbox with transparent digital Artsci work
594mm x 841mm
Collaborators: Dr Emma Tallantyre and Alex Goodall
Working with collaborators Dr Emma Tallantyre and Alex Goodall, an intern from Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, we decided to create an 'artsci' work that expressed the forms and structures derived from the DTi and tractography images produced by the 3T MRi Connectome scanner. All these images are produced as a range of views – axial, sagittal and coronal - of so-called “Regions of Interest” (ROIs) in the brain. Emma, Alex and I chose each image with the aim of giving our audience insight into the beauty of tractography.
Emma suggested we use images of the corticospinal region, which in the brain branches into the corona radiata, internal capsule, fornix, and corpus callosum. I suggested we also use images of the cingulum and tallantyre, which I found to be aesthetically pleasing. In the end, we decided to merge images of the fornix and cingulum together. Aided by Goodall’s expertise with the programme ExploreDTi , we created three sets of stunning tractography maps.
36 inches by 24 inches
Oil on canvas
At the beginning of my work on NEW SIGNALS, I was invited to visit CUBRIC as the building neared completion to attend the arrival of a 40 ton 7 Tesla MRi Magnet being craned into the new building in the summer of 2016. This became the first of several artworks for, NEW SIGNALS. Cardiff University produced a video documenting that day, featuring sketches and paintings I produced afterwards.
100cm by 70cm
Acrylic on canvas
Braintree is an integration of everything my collaborators had shared with me over two years, and an outpouring of all my experiences through the medium of paint. It was completed towards the end of this project and for me it is a visual conclusion to how I have absorbed their research and integrated their ideas into my own work – and how I understand how we experience our existence.