A Look at the Work of Pina Bausch
Scientific research has shown that we perceive art (especially movement based art) with the help of mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are a set of cells in the brain that allow us to recall an action and imagine that action as our own so that we can experience it ourselves either vicariously or viscerally. This is what makes dance specifically such an emotive and provocative art form.
With the passing of the great choreographer and dancer Pina Bausch, many are reflecting on how she hacked the brains of her audience in pushing the boundaries of dance theatre. As a master of empathy, Pina Bausch was able to explore the range of the audience’s reaction to familiar movements and experiences. As shown in her movie Pina 3D, she was able to work with a wide range of themes while always maintaining the human experience as the common thread.
Her dancers adored her for her compassion and care. She encouraged them to be vulnerable and from there they were able to understand her vision.
Her skill was telling stories of the human experience by incorporating colloquial movement language. One project that did this exceptionally well was «Kontakthof». Performed by three different age groups on different occasions, this piece unearths a series of social issues, fears, and insecurities in a lighthearted and occasionally disturbing manner. The setting however and the dancers themselves were quite colloquial and the dance moves of the dancers were in fact their own. As one watches this piece with dancers of each age group the perception of the piece changes. The same movements on a 15 year old girl will not be read the same on a 65 year old woman. What does this say about our mirror neurons and our ability for perception? Are our brains biased?
Today, more dancers and performance artists are beginning to push the boundaries of our perception with their work by considering the neural responses of their visual cues. Over the course of the next few weeks GLIMPSE will be continuing this discussion with our readers, so share your thoughts and stay tuned!
(via visualcomplexity.com) “This multi-touch installation, on display at the Max Planck Science Gallery, explores how the various Max Planck Institutes collaborate with each other, and with their international partners. Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science (MPG) comprises nearly 80 research institutes covering different areas, such as natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. With 32 Nobel Prizes amongst its associated scientists, MPG is one of the most respected scientific institutions in Germany and Europe.”
Image of multi-touch display for exploring scientific collaboration
Photographs courtesy the Biocode Project and National Geographic contributing photographer David Liittschwager.
The idea of infinity can be difficult to wrap our minds around—it’s been talked about in math classes and used in many a hyperbole, but the idea of ‘forever’ is still so abstract. Now you can experience a glimpse of visual infinity for yourself with National Geographic’s “Infinite Photograph.” At first it just looks like a single picture. But with a single click, you find out it’s made of countless other pictures. You keep clicking only to find out each of those pictures is made of more pictures. And those pictures? Yup, just more pictures. Try and stop clicking. Go ahead. Believe us—it’s not that easy. And because this is National Geographic, each photograph is stunning.
The photo mosaic dates not too far back in the late twentieth century. Both Robert Silvers and Joseph Francis pioneered the art form through computer programming. The effect is a sort of meta-art, with some pretty incredible results. The concept of a mosaic has roots in pointillism, an art form popular during the 1800s. Pointillism is a painting technique where many small dots are created in patterns to produce a larger, single image. This, along with photo mosaics, are great representations of interconnectedness, the breakdown of how all the parts contribute to a whole.
The most recent Infinite Photo is one of marine and terrestrial life on the South Pacific island of Mo‘orea. Besides being an excellent way to kill ten minutes of your time at the office or wherever you may be, it’s also quite educational. By continuing to click on an individual photo (more clicking!), you’ll learn a specie’s common and scientific name. This photograph is a physical, interactive, beautiful representation of infinity. And it’s awesome.