Exploring the thoughts in a bunker

Behind an unobtrusive iron door in Dalston decorated with an ever-shifting graffiti skin, lies a staircase leading down to a concrete bunker dating from the 2nd planet war. On my first go to, I entered the depths with some trepidation, turned a corner and left the lit path. Feeling my way all around, I discovered that the wall led into another chamber, linked to an additional. I was inside a multi-chambered bunker with rooms linked through traditional doorways, but also intriguing knee-large holes in the wall. The association of bunkers with central command centres, and our very own internal management centre – the brain – was also excellent to pass up. It was the best space to turn into a brain.

Why a brain? Simply because as someone who generates and generates experiences, I’m on a continual lookout for the curious, the distinctive and the captivating, and the brain is all people things and much more. Every person has one and can quickly connect to it as a topic on a variety of amounts. The brain provides fertile ground for novel interpretation.

Brain banquet
The Brain banquet: meals for believed Photograph: Rita Platts/Guerilla Science

And people are fascinated by this wrinkly three-pound piece of flesh inside their heads that mediates all that we do. Typically related with cause and intellect, it has lengthy been part of our daily parlance: we rack our brains, arrange brainstorms or brain dumps, take part in mind wandering, have our “minds blown”, and when consuming cold things, some of us even experience “brain freeze”. There is no doubt that we are in thrall to the brain, and that’s no surprise – it makes us who we are, enabling us to believe and really feel. Professionals are not immune to this enchantment either: hefty investment is pouring into investigation tasks to map and realize the brain’s activity greater (including the Human Connectome project, the EU Human Brain task and the Brain initiative), Neuroscientists and philosophers above history have described the brain in awestruck tones, naming it as the “last frontier”, the “seat of the soul”, and “the most complicated issue in the universe”.

This is an great hub of about 90 billion neurons individually communicating with each other. It is fairly practically thoughts-boggling, and gets more so the far more you believe about it. How do neurons communicating in fact make us us? Are we just the result of their electrical chatter? We don’t genuinely know. And the sheer volume of what we really don’t know provides the brain an aura of mystery, which tends to make it even more magnificent.

Contemplate the physical mammalian brain itself – a veiny, irregularly shaped, pink lump of flesh. When cooked, it turns a light grey, but retains its wrinkled aspect and has a texture comparable to that of tofu. It is still really considerably a recognisable brain. So when positioned on a plate, as it will be at the Brain banquet, “food” is not always the very first point that comes to thoughts – especially here in Britain. Dependent on who you are and the place you have grown up, there may possibly be a variety of psychological hurdles to conquer ahead of cutting it up, chewing and swallowing one thing that effectively employed to house a thoughts.

Brain banquet
The mammalian brain when cooked turns a light grey, but retains its wrinkled aspect and has a texture comparable to that of tofu Photograph: Rita Platts/Guerilla Science

Eating real brain is just element of a five-course banquet masterminded by foods designers Blanch &amp Shock. The menu discounts with this materials actuality of the brain and how we realize it, incorporating myths about the brain, the evocation of memory and exploring how our brains choose what is meals. By presenting the brain in this way, alongside conversations with neuroscientists, psychologists and individual accounts of individuals living with brain damage from members of Headway East London, Guerilla Science hopes to challenge typical understandings of the brain, sparking people’s curiosity.

Highlights incorporate finding what science can and cannot inform us about consciousness with neuroscientist Anil Seth, an in depth search at what happens in the brain when you hallucinate with neuropsychologist Vaughan Bell, and a spot of mind-wandering with health care geographer Felicity Callard and neuroscientist Daniel Margulies. Inspired by the connectivity inside our brains that enables us to share our tips and experiences with other individuals, we have brought together perspectives from food design, art and science, to celebrate the wonders of the brain.

The brain bunker
The brain bunker Photograph: Zoe Cormier/Guerilla Science

More than the subsequent couple of days the bunker will be transformed into an interpretation of the brain that gives men and women the chance to engage their personal brains with the items of our collective imagination: a neuronal forest by artist Evy Jokhova, a giant external brain by artist Agatha Haines, a sonic tour of the brain, a memory archive featuring footage of the most popular amnesiac in the world and collected memories of other punters stored in test tubes, and a show of sectioned animal heads and brains on loan from the Royal Veterinary University. Our collaborations express the co-operation implicated in the evolution of the early modern day human brain and with it, human culture.

Working outdoors the confines of the traditional institution and a lot more pedestrian kinds of public engagement with science, Guerilla Science seeks to produce spectacular events that revolutionise the way that men and women experience science. In the bunker we are combining science with artwork, anatomy and meals layout to celebrate the mystery and wonder of the brain, to develop an unforgettable, multisensory experience with the universe within our heads.

Jen Wong is the director of Guerilla Science. Tickets to the Brain Banquet, 13-15 March, are now sold out. Join the wait list by contacting zoe@guerillascience.org or follow #brainbanquet on Twitter or Instagram for updates

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