Newsletter Issue:
Spring 2012

Student Updates: Jen Hall’s Wondrous World Of Neuroaesthetics

This fall I was invited to join a group of researchers from MIT’s Brain Lab and Media Lab: engineers, biologists, and chemists working on the mechanics of expanding brain potential by observing brain function. With a focus on the coupling between properties of brain and technology, the group’s research involves the low-level functioning of the nervous system and how these structures may hold relevance for cognitive dysfunctions and the pathophysiology of embodied action. My dissertation research on embodied interactivity in neuroaesthetics presents a very different perspective, but on many of the same topics.

I have been preparing papers for a few upcoming conferences. The first is for the College Art Association in Los Angeles entitled, “Redefining Health through a Post-Cybernetic Aesthetic.” I stake the claim that organic matter no longer has a singular hold on life and then ask how this affects our understanding of body and health. The next conference is the “National Art Education Conference” in New York City, where I will present on a panel entitled, “Learning through Contemporary Art – The Occupied Student.” In the spring, I will give a presentation at The International Association for Philosophy and Literature in Tallinn, Estonia. With the paper title, “Neuroaesthetics and Interactivity in Contemporary Art,”I am building bridges between neuroaesthetics and neurocriticism. In addition, I have been asked to write a chapter for the forthcoming book, “Aesthetics and the Embodied Mind” edited by Alfonsina Scarinzi and published by Georg-August Universitaet Goettingen (Germany). Again, it will be on the topic of action-based issues that neuroaesthetics can bring to the body in contemporary art. I expect all ofthese writings to serve me well in my dissertation. I am just now starting, Chapter 2: Behavioral Aesthetics of the Transgenic.

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