Watch: Marina Abramovic Experiments with Neuroscience + Art

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Marina Abramović Marina Abramović (© 2010 Marina Abramović. Courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery/Artists Rights Society (ARS))

It's Brain Awareness Week in New York City. Renowned performance artist Marina Abramović talks about her new performance art project, "Measuring the Magic of Mutual Gaze," which blends neuroscience and art. David Poeppelprofessor of psychology and neural science at NYU, explains what participatory performance art can teach about neuroscience, and what researchers can learn about participants. Suzanne Dikker, neuroscience researcher at NYU who has worked on neuroscience art projects, records Marina and Brian's brain waves during the interview, and explains what we can learn from the recording. 

Plus: Yehuda Duenyas (aka xxxy) joins briefly to talk about his neuroscience project, The Ascent

*This segment originally aired on May 13, 2013. An edited version was aired on May 27, 2013 as part of a special Memorial Day show.

More information about this weekend's workshop with Dr. Dikker at the American Museum of Natural History

→ A full calendar of Brain Awareness Week events can be found here

→ More information about the headsets used during today's show is here



Marina Abramovic, Suzanne Dikker, Yehuda Duenyas and David Poeppel

Comments [22]

Kara Stone

Marina does some good work, I read someone mention Paul Armen, didnt know his worked but checked it out, completely amazing, first his music, then his "photo-paintings" incredible. I dont know why I hadnt heard of him before, maybe because hes in New Zealand, wherever that is

Jun. 26 2013 07:01 AM

I couldn't agree w. you more, "AM from NYC". This pretentiousness& megalomania is, well, ridiculous.

Mar. 23 2013 10:16 PM
Sarah from NY

I've always been interested in Marina's work. This new development also seems interesting. She's a great artist, like Laurie Anderson, Paul Amlehn, Matthew Barney, and other avant garde artists. Theyre not always understood in their time, but do important work.

Mar. 17 2013 01:48 AM
Bar Ami from NJ

see here:
"We just need to sit quietly...It's an inner experience."
"Sustained empathic immersion"

Mar. 13 2013 12:45 PM

Pliny from Soho YES!!!!!!!

Mar. 13 2013 11:52 AM

tom from astoria: Why can't Marina's explorations coexist with the ancients in "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" (did you see that? Werner Herzog? See if you can see it in 3D. Really breathtaking drawings some locals made 20,000 years ago, maybe more. In Haute Savoie, France, caves were sealed after this film was made!)

Here's another ingredient - Have you seen Exit Through the Gift Shop - there's someone who's maybe funnin' us!!!

Thanks for a show like this, BL!

Mar. 13 2013 11:50 AM
The Artist is Listening from Sugar Hill

Wow, so many negative comments must mean the work is affecting!!
I am curious if there is a comparative amount of evidence to explain Collective Consciousness with one example being the 'Spike' just prior to 911 measured by an apparatus and study out of Princeton University.
Certainly in this day, where Doritoes is unveiling a tweet fueled rock show at SXSW (though the process is no doubt a harnessed control - either A or B can happen)...
Is there perhaps more $$ behind the dystopian research of crowd and mass mind control?
Is there more evidence to scientifically support telepathic experiences by large groups throughout history?
How would one measure the neuro-transmissions of large groups versus the communication between two quiet, meditative minds???

Great segment, Thanks

Mar. 13 2013 11:45 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

foodaggro from Brooklyn, Kudos too!!!
It seems much of our current art is based on narcissistic self-promotion, flam and scam. Miss Abramovic is one amongst a cast of thousands using hocus pocus.

Mar. 13 2013 11:41 AM
tom from astoria

From the caves in Lascaux, 35,000 BC, to the present artists have delighted in representing the real world in art.I called in but my normal question wasn't accepted: How about studying the brain activity of an accomplished artist drawing from life. Interpreting 3D space and putting down on a 2D surface is very complicated. Fom the caves in Lascaux 35,000 BC to the present artists have delighted in representing the real world in art. Hocus Pocus Ibramovic doesn't impress me, I was there when her MoMA performance ended. Looked like a CULT meeting of true believers.

Mar. 13 2013 11:36 AM


how about getting a full brain nuking every day for 3 weeks and then finding out what you just heard from one of these scientists this AM - that they (doctors and scientists incl neuro-scientists) really don't know much about the human brain!!!

I think it's natural for people to recoil from new (to them) ideas - at first.

Mar. 13 2013 11:36 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

AM. from NYC, Kudos!!!

Mar. 13 2013 11:34 AM
pliny from soho

well at least they are not sticking wires in
the skulls of helpless animals
or are they NYU?

Mar. 13 2013 11:31 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

I'm a lifetime fan of sci-fi and fantasy, and WISH this could be true - telepathy, mysticism, etc. But I have never been able to take Abramovic seriously as an artist. She seems to believe in her own b.s. and inspires endless eye-rolling.

Mar. 13 2013 11:30 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

In the arts and amongst artists there is a strong tendencies toward mysticism and the mystical. Where as Western based science is based on show me. Show me the proof.

Mar. 13 2013 11:30 AM

Oh please!!!! What was Leonardo? Artist or Scientist? No there's something in our history that sort of severs our brain lobes and we miss a lot of points and make a lot of messes - Maori people in hostile territories drew on cave walls pictures of stars it took us centuries for us to see.

Science seems to have a stick in its behind sometimes

thank you, Marnina! Can't wait to see what turns your head next!

Mar. 13 2013 11:27 AM
JB from NJ

Why do I feel like I'm getting hoodwinked? This enterprise feels like a scam, a giant joke on all of us. Like a $100 hamburger. How far does it go before we realize how ridiculous we all are?

Mar. 13 2013 11:26 AM
JT from NJ/NY

NeuroPR. Only in NYC.

Q: What do we gain from brain awareness week in NYC?
A: More publicity and money for NYU and Columbia.

A scholarly *eyeroll* here. What specific information about the structure and function of the brain does this provide?

Mar. 13 2013 11:21 AM
A.M. from NYC

You go, foodaggro. May I remind us all of the "middle path": turn it off.

Mar. 13 2013 11:20 AM
Andrea from manhattan

I love Marina's work and am an artist who has been influenced by her!
People, in therapy, experience being "seen" by a present person, this can also happen in a meditation retreat or context with a very present buddhist abbot or nun. there are Many therapies that use this and it is the foundation for, body centered therapies such as core energetics.

Mar. 13 2013 11:20 AM

I'm wondering if Ms. Abramovic has any background in yoga/ meditation?

Mar. 13 2013 11:20 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Not sure whether to yawn or laugh at this nonsense.

Mar. 13 2013 11:18 AM
A.M. from NYC

It is deeply uninspiring to witness the endless trotting out of this artist by various art-corporate interests (MOMA, to name one). Why are so many parties so mindlessly on-board this bandwagon? The power hunger, the rabid self-promotion--all under the pretense of offering some kind of mindfulness-inflected art. Profoundly tiresome.

Mar. 13 2013 11:18 AM

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