Brains in a Dish

Film stills & artworks : © Charlie Murphy

Brains in a Dish brings exciting new immersive art+ science to Cooper Gallery and Glassworks Digital Space from Oct 22-Jan2023. Artist Charlie Murphy and engineer Robin Bussell use an array of playful digital tools, projections, robotic lasers, disc and reformed laboratory glass to explore and celebrate the cutting edge dementia research Prof. Selina Wray.

Currently, around one million people are estimated to be living with dementia in the UK, including 3,000 people in Barnsley alone. It’s a condition caused by several diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s, and sadly one in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime unless we bring about life-changing preventions and treatments.

Prof Selina Wray, grew up in Barnsley and now leads a group of dementia researchers at University College London. Prof Wray investigates the underlying causes of dementia, and is particularly interested in how a protein that builds up in the brain causes damage in Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.

To develop the artworks for the exhibition, Charlie is also collaborating with Dr Eric Hill from Aston University and engineer Robin Bussell. They will run a series of participatory workshops with local community groups to develop artworks and interactive activities about dementia and brain health. The Barnsley Brains team will also run a series of creative events while the exhibition is open, showcasing their illuminated ‘Brainscan Headdress’ and popular ‘Neuronal Disco’ activities.

These will be held for different local groups and schools, with the goal of creating dialogue and capturing changes in
perceptions and understanding of dementia and dementia research. To develop the artworks for the exhibition, Charlie is also collaborating with Dr Eric Hill from Aston University and engineer Robin Bussell. They will run a series of participatory workshops with local community groups to develop artworks and interactive activities about dementia and brain health. The Barnsley Brains team will also run tried and tested events while the exhibition is open, showcasing their illuminated ‘Brainscan Headdress’ and popular ‘Neuronal Disco’ activities. These will be held for different local groups and schools, with the goal of creating dialogue and capturing changes in perceptions and understanding of dementia and dementia research.

Charlie Murphy uses performance, glass, light, photographic and digital tools to investigate and visualise hidden dimensions of human anatomy and connection . Her installations, exhibitions, performances and public engagement activities are widely presented across many arts and science contexts in the UK and internationally. She said:

For further information about the artist and the project visit:

www.charliemurphy.co.uk

www.brainsinadish.org

"This project is an exciting next step and new context for me as an artist, making new work and building on a long-standing collaboration with Prof Selina Wray. I’ve been fascinated to learn about her cutting-edge research using stem cell technology to understand the diseases that cause dementia. Together, we hope to develop some innovative ways for people to interact with art and science, bringing it to life and making it relevant to them."

Professor Selina Wray is Alzheimer's Research UK Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology. She uses cutting-edge techniques with stem cells to unravel the causes of dementia, a condition for which there is currently no cure. 

For further information about Professor Selina Wray visit:

www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/prof-wray-barnsley-dementia/ 

Brains in a Dish is financially supported by Barnsley Museums & Heritage Trust, Barnsley MBC, Alzheimer’s Research UK Inspire Fund and the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

This short film offers a glimpse into the development of Brains in a Dish, an innovative interdisciplinary project inspired by Professor Selina Wray’s pioneering dementia research at UCL’s Institute of Neurology. 

Inspired by delicate and laborious cell culturing processes and advanced imaging techniques, Charlie reshapes and animates an array of lab tools and scientific glassware into elaborate colonies and forests of cell forms and connection at dramatic, expanded , human scales. 

Observing the transformation of her skin cells into functioning brain cells in the lab, artist Charlie is developing immersive installations and participatory events which investigate some the deeply unsettling human, philosophical and ethical questions that accompany the bioengineering and the propagation of human cells outside of the body.

Find out more about Brains in a Dish here:

https://www.brainsinadish.org/