Greg Dunn and Brian Edward

Self-Reflected

Dr. Greg Dunn (artist and neuroscientist) and Dr. Brian Edwards (artist and applied physicist) created Self Reflected to elucidate the nature of human consciousness, bridging the connection between the mysterious three pound macroscopic brain and the microscopic behavior of neurons. Self Reflected offers an unprecedented insight of the brain into itself, revealing through a technique called reflective microetching the enormous scope of beautiful and delicately balanced neural choreographies designed to reflect what is occurring in our own minds as we observe this work of art. Self Reflected was created to remind us that the most marvelous machine in the known universe is at the core of our being and is the root of our shared humanity.

Greg Dunn

brain art
To capture their strikingly chaotic and spontaneous forms, the neurons in Self Reflected are painted using a technique wherein ink is blown around on a canvas using jets of air. The resulting ink splatters naturally form fractal like neural patterns, and although the artist learns to control the general boundaries of the technique it remains at its heart a chaotic, abstract expressionist process.

Santiago Ramón y Cajal

purkinje neuron from the human cerebellum
Ramón y Cajal’s theory described how information flowed through the brain. Neurons were individual units that talked to one another directionally, sending information from long appendages called axons to branchlike dendrites, over the gaps between them.
He couldn’t see these gaps in his microscope, but he called them synapses, and said that if we think, learn and form memories in the brain then that itty-bitty space was most likely the location where we do it. This challenged the belief at the time that information diffused in all directions over a meshwork of neurons.