Brain Waves Weekender
March 2013, Barbican Centre, London
We were hired by the Barbican, Europe’s largest multi-arts venue, to produce a range of activities for the Brain Wave Weekender, a series of free public events that brought together neuroscience and the arts. Guerilla Science created three bespoke events that set out to explore the human brain in new and unprecedented ways…
For those with an appetite for something sweet and wobbly, we served up plates of delicious brained-shaped jellies. Neuroscientists Zarinah Agnew, Ed Bracey, and neurosurgeon Arnab Ghosh dissected our edible brains and explained the function of each anatomical portion.
In a tasty treat for the ears, we devised an auditory guide to the mind: the ‘Sonic Tour of the Brain’, a 20-minute exploration of the sounds of the brain. Listened to on wireless headphones, this audio journey features phantom words, infinite scales, and the unforgettable sound of a cranial drill.
In the ‘Memory Clinic’, we collaborated with artist Evy Jokhova to create a wooden maze that was built to represent the process of memory formation. The audience consulted with our “memory archivist” to learn how several key regions in the brain – the hippocampus, amygdala and cortex – combine to inscribe experiences in the mind. With pen and paper, anyone could donate a memory to the branching collection of treasured experiences, before traveling through the maze to explore what others had left behind.
From there, many of our guests went on a ‘Memory Walk’, a guided tour around the central London arts complex, to explore the capacity of their own ability to store information with grandmaster of memory, Ed Cooke.