"Albert - CONNECTIVITY MODEL SERIES"
a continuing collaboration between Partha Mitra and Fré Ilgen www.mitralab.org
Albert I, 2009
After a number of preparatory discussions, summer 2009 Fré Ilgen started a collaboration with physicist and neuroscientist Prof Partha Mitra on a three dimensional sculptural model of nervous system connectivity. The idea is to base the circuit connections depicted in the model on neuroanatomical knowledge while exercising the license offered by artistic creativity.
The details of nervous system connectivity are too numerous to visualize realistically in a sculpture, so the idea was to rather to schematize the major nodes of the circuitry and to depict the connections between them.
The first version of the model was constructed summer 2009, in a collaborative session in Studio Ilgen Spandau, Berlin, Germany. The model/sculpture is a quite simplified version, showing only some basic connections in the brain, the spinal cord and visceral and peripheral organs.
Two dimensional photographic projections of even this simple model appears quite complex and difficult to decipher, emphasizing the importance and utility of a full three dimensional model.
The collaborative process was a lot of fun and mutually instructive both for the artist, with in depth knowledge about sculpture and construction, and the scientist with neuroanatomical knowledge - both working out a joint creative process, combining scientific knowledge/reasoning and visual/sculptural intuition.
Albert II (named 'Marie')
In summer 2010 the collaborative experimental brain-connectivity model/sculpture was continued by neuro-scientist Prof. Partha Mitra and Fré Ilgen, following on 'Albert I', leading to "Albert II (named MARIE)", a new model still under construction.