Walking in my Mind


Speaking of distributed cognition, apparatuses and assemblages, the current Hayward Gallery show (23 June – 6 September 2009) in London, “Walking in My Mind: Adventure into the artist’s imagination,” presents some interesting attempts at modelling cognition materially. Jason Rhoades’ work, “The Creation Myth,” stands out in particular as an intriguing, disturbing – but at the same time hilarious – effort to render a complex apparatus, made of heterogeneous parts, visible. Here is the description of this machine from the guide produced by the gallery:

The Creation Myth is made up of many separate assemblages and component parts. What at first sight appears to be total confusion is in fact carefully planned and organized. A deconstructed artist’s brain in the form of a vast ‘accumulation machine’, laid out on piled-up trestle tables, takes up most of the space in the installation. It faces a ‘forest of constructed reality’ consisting of images from everyday life, the artist’s own past work and hard-core pornography.

This visual information enters the brain and is processed in various ways: chopped and then split into right or wrong by the Moral Wedge, and stored in memory piles. The interior brain contains three different levels of consciousness. The highest level is the domain of everyday images. The next level down is concerned with intuition and desire. The lowest level contains the Inner Child: a ‘spaced out spot’ equipped with a Japanese massage chair and video games. The space under the table is the area of the unsconscious mind, into which images fall from time to time.

Beyond the cerebral spaces lie various other body parts. A bright red, serpentine oesophagus connects the brain to the stomach, which processes and digests material. Scattered vertebrae form a spinal column leading to the anus, which intermittently emits smoke rings. This, Rhoades explained, is the Spirit; it represents the ‘ultimate creation act’ but this is ephemeral and quickly disappears. [Written by Helen Luckett.]

The other exhibits are also worth seeing. Here are some photos of all of them.

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