Neuroscience Art Installation & Performance

September 14, 2010

Interdisciplinary artist Amy Caron will be in residence at Duke University’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience from October 7th to November 3rd, 2010.


During her residency, Caron will present Waves of Mu, a neuroscience-based art installation and performance work for eight public performances.

Salt Lake City Utah-based Caron is known nationally as an edgy, contemporary artist whose interdisciplinary work draws from choreography, performance, photography, video, music and her experience as a former aerial ski jumper for the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team. Although she is not a scientist, Neurology Now recently profiled her as one of their “Inspiring People” for her creation, Waves of Mu, which probes brain anatomy and function from the perspective of the debate surrounding mirror neurons, a provocative discovery that has captivated scientists and the public alike.

Duke Today | Research Blog | The Herald Sun | Independent Weekly

All performances are SOLD OUT: You may register for the Opening Reception or put your name on the Waitlist for any of the performances.

The installation will be open for public viewing during designated Gallery Hours. Free and open to all. No registration required.

Gallery Hours:

Additional installation hours are available by appointment. Contact Wendy Lesesne for an appointment.

Location (Open House, Performances & Gallery): Schiciano Auditorium and The Studio, Pratt School of Engineering, FCIEMAS (Fitzpatrick Center)

The Waves of Mu performance takes place in two rooms: In the first, an audience of fifty people is invited to kick-off their shoes (literally) and enter a complex art installation that represents the internal structure of the brain – velvet floor tessellation, chandeliers, paintings, photography, sculpture and vibrant colors all combine to build the architecture of what is possibly the most unique brain model today. The audience then moves to the second room where Caron, in the role of an eccentric scientist, interacts with the viewers via performance – combining science and theories, challenging conventions and triggering the “mirror neurons” of the audience members.

Caron caught the attention of Duke Professor Michael Platt with Waves of Mu. Platt, Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, then partnered with the Visual Studies Initiative to bring Caron to campus. According to Platt, “The interdisciplinary nature of her approach makes it possible to explore education via contemporary art. The teaching potential of the piece is realized through the use of sound, sculpture, touch, visual, smell and taste sensations. In these ways, the piece is totally immersive.” Platt wants Duke students to experience, engage and potentially add to the work. He goes on to say of Caron’s work, “[It] removes the traditional distance that galleries and museums provide making both the installation and performance intimate and immediate. The viewer becomes a part of the total work.”

Caron’s installation will also be augmented by some local talent: Duke music grad student Paul Leary is composing an original score, and psychology and neuroscience grad student David Paulsen is creating visual art to add to the two-room installation.

Waves of Mu premiered in 2008 at the Firehouse Gallery and was commissioned with support from the National Performance Network and New York’s Performance Space 122. In 2011, Waves of Mu will be presented at the University of Utah’s School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, UT and the Sushi Performance and Visual Art in San Diego, CA.

In addition to DIBS support, Amy Caron’s residency is sponsored by the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Department of Art & Art History, Visual Studies Initiative, and the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts. As well as the Council for the Arts’ Visiting Artist Program, which supports projects that will enrich the life of the university and broader community, augment the curriculum, facilitate the interaction of artists and scholars, foster the reputation of Duke University as a place where the arts are vital and diverse, and contribute to the arts as a whole.

For further information, please contact Wendy Lesesne.


About DIBS

The Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (DIBS) was created in 2007 as a cross-school, campus-wide, interdisciplinary Institute with a commitment to building an interactive community of brain science research and scholarship.