In the last decade, there has been significant interdisciplinary activity between the arts and the sciences. The factor behind this collaborative spirit is the realization that artists have an influential voice that the general public responds to. Art has the ability to translate complex ideas into something the average person will use, interact with and understand. This collective nature between disciplines is what provided me with the vision for my project.
Brain plasticity is a term that is unfamiliar to most people – the word “plastic” signifying images of Tupperware or takeout containers. However, it is a concept common in neuroscience that is used to describe the flexibility of brain development and decline. It is the study of the brain’s wiring system (or neural pathways) and how it gives instructions to our bodies. What recent research has shown is that these changes can happen at any age – not just during childhood or young adulthood. Tapping into plasticity to reinvigorate the brain is a strenuous process. It requires proper techniques and guidance, much like learning something for the first time; and if attempted alone, reworking the mind is nearly impossible.
My work resembles a family heirloom that is nearly a century old. It is a laser-cut, acrylic puzzle box that is the sum of 12 pieces and can only be solved in one way. Instructions are not provided to solve the puzzle, as the solution will only be revealed by demonstration. Learning to solve the puzzle box requires the same attention and dedication as rewiring the plasticity of the brain. Both demand patience, proper techniques and practice to reach the solution. In addition to the puzzle box, my series includes fifteen documentary photographs illuminating the beauty of the material to showcase the puzzle. This work has the potential to generate positive discussion on the flexibility of brain development and bring awareness to plasticity from a creative approach.