Enter Your Brain into an Art Competition, If You Dare

The Neuro Bureau wants your grey matter.

by Anna Marks
03 October 2016, 3:45pm

Representation of the human connectome category, 2015, Brainyfly, Dumitru FETCO, McGill University, MNI, BIC. All images courtesy of the artists under the Creative Commons License

On the surface, art and neuroscience have little in common. One illustrates the world our brains conjure, while the other seeks to find empirical answers. Seeking to show the deeper relationship between the two, The Neuro Bureau runs a Brain-Art competition that showcases the most imaginative and artistic representations of the brain. They exhibit a variety of experimental art created both by the general public and leading neuroscientists, with entries ranging from warped brain images created by FMRi bugs, to abstract neuronal paintings, illustrating that, although unconventional, the brain and its neurons have aesthetic features as appealing as the natural forms used traditionally in art.

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Abstract brain representation category, 2011, Abstract Image, Karl Zilles, Markus Axer, David Graessl & Katrin Amunts

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Abstract brain illustration category, 2015, Crean Quaner

Visualization of Probabilistic Connectivity category, 2014, Heart of the brain, Chris Steele, MPI Leipzig

Established in 2011, The Neuro Bureau’s Brain-Art Competition (enter here) aims to create a space for the neuroimaging community to show innovations in data visualization. As Dr. Daniel Margulies, one of The Neuro Bureau’s Co-Founders, tells The Creators Project, “Our primary interest is to offer a space for people to share creative visual outputs related to the brain in various forms with the hope that they're able to impact a wider community. [...] The submissions come from individuals with a wide range of backgrounds across the arts and sciences. The judging is done by a group of approximately 50 individuals from across the neuroimaging community."

"One of the more exciting aspects of the ongoing competition has been its diversity," Margulies continues. "There's been a remarkable amount of playfulness and innovation in the submissions we've received, and we've been delighted to see the competition take on a life of its own.”

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Representation of the human connectome category, 2011, White matter fiber tracts: visualization of fiber track data from diffusion MR, Betty Lee.

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Abstract brain illustration category, 2016, Rack my Brains, Andrea Garcia

The Brain-Art competition validates the longstanding but lesser-known history art has with neuroscience—artists being the early explorers of visual perception and the first to remark on how the eye perceives depth and object form via changes in light. The competition demonstrates that the integration of both perspectives allows us to arrive at a better understanding of perceptual reality, bringing together divergent but valuable visual interpretations. “Artists can be valuable collaborators with all kinds of scientific projects," one of the competition winners, Toronto-based Digital Art and Science Contributor, Ron Wild, tells us. "Each artistic medium features something unique about the brain and its processing power. My neuro art shows the processes occurring at both super and subconscious levels of awareness—my goal being to create art that is credited with sparking Nobel Prize-winning insights." Check out more images from the Brain-Art Competition below:

Visualization of Probabilistic Connectivity category, 2014, Slicing the connectome, Alfred Anwander & Max Planck, Institut for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

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Abstract Brain illustration category, 2012, Brain String Theory, Jeremy Strain

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Visualization of Probabilistic Connectivity category, 2014, Functional Connectivity Tractography, Sebastien Dery, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University

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Educational brain illustration category, 2012, Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging Lab (SCIL): Maxime Chamberland, David Fortin & Maxime Descoteaux

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Humorous brain Image category, 2016, Gaming, Ron Wild

Representation of the human connectome, The multi-resolution effect, 2016, AmanPreet Badhwar, PhD & Pierre Bellec, PhD, IUGM, Université de Montreal

To view more about The Neuro Bureau, click here.


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