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Introduction to Panel: Art Praxis

Notes: Article presented during the first Neuro-Aesthetics conference organized at Goldsmiths University, London UK, May 2005. Art Praxis Section

This panel is comprised of Beau Lotto, Jules Davidoff and Olafur Eliasson.

Jules Davidoff, who will speak third, as a few of you know, is a Professor of Psychology, an evolutionary psychologist, a different kind of evolutionary psychologist, with a great amount of knowledge of cognitive neuroscience. He writes on color, very fascinating, he’s done benchmark pieces on color – and his notion of color works with a very sophisticated idea of culture as well as nature.

Beau Lotto will speak second on the postmodern brain. Beau is a neuroscientist; he’s going to speak about the brain apart from notions of linear causality.

Olafur Eliasson needs no introduction but I’ll give him one anyway. He’s one of the worlds leading artists. You’ll all know him from The Weather Project at the Tate Modern in 2003, The Blind Pavilion at the Venice Biennale also in 2003. One of his very first works, first very well known works was … was it called ‘Spotlight’? It was a spotlight in Los Angeles which was comprised of a hole he made in the ceiling of an art house. Olafur has very often addressed the kind of interface again of nature and culture. I think this will come up in all three of the papers. He has investigated perception through the recreation and intervention in natural phenomenon. Olafur has for a long time been involved in the kind of science arts initiatives that perhaps provide a bit of a framework for what the Arts Council and the AHRB have started to initiate two years ago or three years ago, this is way back to 1996, the original events in Japan and afterwords – Hans Ulrich Obrist, Blue Steele and a number of others. Olafur finally is an accomplished golfer, I’ve heard, I don’t play golf but I look like a golfer, he looks like an artist, so with no further ado, can I introduce Olafur Eliasson.

Dr. Lash is Director for the Center for Culture Studies and Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths College, London. He was born in Chicago. He took a BSc in Psychology from the University of Michigan and an MA in Sociology from Northwestern University. His PhD was from the London School of Economics (1980). Lash began his teaching career as a Lecturer at Lancaster University. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1988, to Reader in 1990, and to Professor in 1993. He moved to London in 1998 to take up his present post. Lash was a Humbolt Fellow in Berlin between 1988-1991, and he has been an editor of Theory, Culture, and Society—the journal and book series—since 1989. His books have been translated into ten languages, they include: The End of Organized Capitalism (with John Urry, 1987); Sociology of Postmodernism (with Beck and Giddens, 1994); Another Modernity, A Different Rationality (1999); and Critique of Information (2000). Edited collections include: Max Weber, Rationality and Modernity (co-edited, 1987); Modernity and Identity (co-edited, 1992); Global Modernities (co-edited, 1995); Risk, Environment and Modernity (co-edited, 1995); Detraditionalization (co-edited, 1996); and Time and Value (co-edited, 1998).