University of Dundee

Hearts then Minds?: New exhibition opens at LifeSpace, Preview at 5pm on Friday, 18th September at LifeSpace, Discovery Centre

17 Sep 2015

The second instalment of a two-part exhibition of contemporary art, artefacts and scientific research examining the perception and wellbeing of the most vital human organs opens at the University of Dundee tomorrow.

‘Hearts & Minds’, jointly hosted by Dundee and Abertay universities explores the function, power and frailty of the heart and brain from many different biological and emotional perspectives. ‘Hearts’ opened at Abertay’s Hannah Maclure Centre last week and ‘Minds’ will preview at Dundee’s LifeSpace Gallery tomorrow.

‘Minds’ features the work of artists from across the UK including Aidan Moesby, whose interactive project ‘Sagacity’ uses Twitter to determine how the people of Dundee are feeling day to day and suggests the feedback loop that exists between our brain and our behaviour. His ‘Periodic Table of Emotions’ lights up to reveal the mood of the city – from affectionate, to generous, to vexed. 

‘Minds’ also showcases the research that seeks to better understand changes in the brain during neurodegeneration, in conditions such as dementia and Parkinsons, and the ion channels that enable the flow of the brain’s electrical signals. 

Curator Sarah Cook said, “With works of art spanning software, sculpture, print and film, Minds invites the viewer to reflect upon their own brain’s physical and mental health.

“We are glad to be working together across two venues to bring the research happening in Dundee to life, at both the Hannah Maclure Centre and at LifeSpace. LifeSpace has been open nearly a year now and this is our fourth exhibition, bringing together artists and scientists to look differently at the research being undertaken in the city, and to ask questions of how the research is understood and how it might affect people, day-to-day. The pair of exhibitions considers diseases which many of us have first hand experience of, whether it be ourselves, a family member or friend – such as Alzheimer’s or stroke.”

“The brain is a complicated organ, tied to both physical health and emotion. Aidan Moesby’s ‘Sagacity’ project is the nexus of the ‘Minds’ exhibition, the result of an extensive research period with the Small Society Lab, with both service users of mental health support systems and the community of social media active people in Dundee. It will be interesting to see during the run of the exhibition, how the city’s populace is feeling, through this new way of representing Dundee’s collective mental state.” 

Also included in the exhibition at LifeSpace is a piece by Tamsin van Essen in ceramic and copper, in which she has transformed sentimental objects into physical reminders of the diseases that can plague the healthy tissue of the brain, disrupting the membrane of neurons. Tamsin van Essen has shown her work across the world, including at the Saatchi Gallery, the Wellcome Collection and 10 Downing Street, but this is the first time her art has been seen in Dundee. 

Graduating Masters student from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Ingrid Bell, has turned MRI brain scans into wallpaper that is responsive to touch, retaining a visible marker of your presence, using inks that will deteriorate and become less sensitive over time.

A film about the ageing brain by BAFTA-award winning filmmaker Anne Milne, and prints and sculptures about how cells communicate by Jim Pattison also feature, alongside artefacts relating to the brain from the University of Dundee Museum’s collections, some of which have been selected for exhibition by artist Aidan Moesby. 


Further information:

‘Minds’ previews on Friday 18 September from 5-7pm and runs until Saturday 17 October in LifeSpace at the University of Dundee. 

Tours of the exhibition with curator Sarah Cook and artist Aidan Moesby will be held on Saturday 19 September from 11am and throughout the day as part of Doors Open Days.

LifeSpace gallery is open to the public Saturdays from 11am to 5pm.

‘Hearts’ runs until Friday 23 October in the Hannah Maclure Centre at Abertay University.

‘Sagacity’ was commissioned by Dundee Contemporary Arts in partnership with the Small Society Lab, the University of Dundee and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. It was supported by New Media Scotland's Alt-w fund.

 ‘Periodic Table of Emotions’ by Aidan Moesby is a print in an edition of 118, available for sale from Dundee Contemporary Arts.

A related film screening of the award-winning documentary, ‘The Closer We Get’, by director Karen Guthrie, telling the story of her family and their coping with the care of her mother after a debilitating stroke, will screen at Dundee Contemporary Arts on October 17th at 3pm, on the final day of the exhibition at LifeSpace. Tickets are on sale from October 2nd.