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Mind in the Cave

8 April 2013

Mind in the Cave

Mind in the Cave

Cardiff archaeologists help public recreate earliest art at Festival of Neuroscience

Cardiff University archaeologists are leading a creative drop-in activity at a national festival that will engage families and children in the earliest art known to mankind.    

The Mind in the Cave experience, led by Cardiff’s artist in residence Paul Evans and osteo-archaeologist Dr Jacqui Mulville will form part of a Street Fair at the British Neuroscience Association’s Festival of Neuroscience (7-10 April) and is based on using phosphenes as the inspiration for art.

Phosphenes are the strange patterns consisting of waves, dots, zigzags, grids, and nested curves that sometimes appear in front of our eyes in situations such as blackouts or under conditions of sensory deprivation. These phenomena might have been the origin for the universal abstract forms or motifs that appear in the early art of cultures from around the world.
At the event, visitors will draw blindfolded to allow the phosphenes (patterns) to emerge and will be encouraged to draw what they see using charcoal and ochre. Photographs will be taken of each of the artworks on the day and uploaded to a Wordpress blog, creating an online gallery of phosphene art.

Paul Evans said: “Drawing blindfold allows the appearance of phosphenes to take place, and adds a novel and fun dimension to this activity. It also places everyone on the same level playing field creatively - no amount of artistic training will prepare you for this exercise - so everyone is equal.”

The Mind in the Cave event builds on a number of successful creative activities held at music festivals in 2011/12 by the University’s Guerrilla Archaeology collective under the direction of Dr Mulville.

The Festival of Neuroscience’s Street Fair can be found on the ground floor of the Barbican Centre, London between the 7th and 10th of April 2013. More than 20 free, drop-in activities are available as part of the Street Fair. The Festival forms part of Wonder: Art and Science on the Brain, a wider season of brain-related events organised in partnership between the Wellcome Trust and the Barbican [see Wonder: Art and Science on the Brain].