Below you’ll find links to the three segments of an in-depth (and I mean in-depth) trilogy I wrote for Kill Screen, which The New Yorker described as “the McSweeney’s of interactive media,” on what’s known as…
[T]he brain is an artist, creating images out of separate visual components. Maybe our ability to read a curve drawn on a flat surface as a three-dimensional figure is related to our reception of visual data from the world as edges—lines and curves. Maybe when artists draw they are doing with their hand what the brain is doing with its electrical pulses.
Consider, too, our brain’s extensive face-recognition equipment, including the ability to read feeling in facial expression and body language. Our “face patches,” located low in the temporal lobe, along with our emotion-tracking amygdala, light up equally when confronted with a face or a picture of a face. Art is intermingled with biology and inseparable from it. As we are wired to recognize faces, so portraits and self-portraits—images of the human face and body—have proliferated throughout the history of art.
Making art requires persistence, the ability to work in a rather dogged manner over time, openness to unconscious material plus the patience to receive it, technical skill with materials, and the practice of engaging in a dialogue with the work as it develops. Making art also requires a particular sort of brain. The sort of brain we happen to have.
“Claiming he was sent from the future on a mission to retrieve an antique computer, he talked with thousands of people online and told stories of futuristic life in 2036. Many of his tales warned of imminent disaster for the world, but he said he couldn’t help.”—The Man Who Told the Internet He’d Come from the Future
“Why haven’t we met any visitors from another time? It sounds like a silly question, but it’s one that many scientists actually take very seriously. Meeting someone from the future would, of course, serve as definitive proof that we can indeed travel through time, and that would be a quite a simple way to solve a huge scientific riddle. So it’s no surprise that a handful of enthusiasts and experts have staged experiments in order to attract the time travelers that could be hiding among us.”—A Brief History of Scientists Hunting for Time Travelers