Friday, 12 October 2012

House Magazine: The Brain Observatory

I went slightly off piste with this one, admittedly... but for the recent issue of Soho House's House magazine I interviewed Jacopo Annese of The Brain Observatory at the University of San Diego, California, about his team's efforts to digitally preserve donated brains in order to extend the realms of knowledge and research into how our old grey matter works. It's still largely a mystery, so the work The Brain Observatory is doing has potential for some groundbreaking discoveries in future. I've always found anatomy absolutely fascinating, so it was a real pleasure to branch out into a bit of (very basic) science writing. Don't be squeamish, it's very interesting...


The Brain Observatory

How one scientific team’s mission to photograph and analyse the human brain could unlock the secrets of our creative minds

Stop for a moment to consider the myriad of cognitive processes you’re currently deploying to read these words, all that wonderful action going on between your ears. Then, when you’re done, consider that conventionally, at the end of your life, your brain will be burned or buried along with the rest of your dead self. It does seem rather a waste – and whether you believe in an afterlife or not, you can’t take it with you.  Enter Dr Jacopo Annese, founder of The Brain Observatory at the University of California, San Diego, who works on the grey matter of a kind array of donors, allowing them to live on in the digital domain. In a process that takes place over eight months, Annese and his team pickle, freeze and then slice to a hairs-width each brain, before dyeing each slice and taking a 1-terabyte sized detailed digital composite image. There can be up to 2,500 slices in a brain and, Annese says, ‘once you dive into the high-resolution histological image at a cellular level, then it becomes an enormous landscape that, despite centuries of investigations, remains still largely uncharted.’

House Magazine: Tereza Zelenkova

Here's the article I wrote for House magazine on photographer Tereza Zelenkova. I posted about her previously as I also filmed an interview with her for House Seven having seen her work at the RCA 2012 show. She's definitely one to watch.


Invoking the occult, mortality and mysticism in her monochrome images, Tereza Zelenkova presents vistas and artifacts from nature that nonetheless shimmer with a mysterious supernatural aura. To her, death isn’t the gateway to another world but the all-pervading full stop to life, and she explores a universe where neither religion nor science can provide us with all the answers. Working with a spontaneity that belies the depth and integrity of the final body of work, she explains that it’s all about the fine balance of intuition and editing...

What made you choose photography as your medium as an artist?
When I was 16 I tried photography and I immediately fell in love with it. I guess I was seduced with the lightness with which one can create an image by using a camera.
Is your technique more impulsive or constructed?
Through the years I have learnt to work quite effortlessly. I realized that if I try too much the results are not as good as if I just get carried away by a moment or an idea. For me, photography is certainly about intuitive knowing rather than rigorous thinking.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Edible Cinema video on Cult Hub

My video on Edible Cinema is featured as part of an article on the forthcoming Edible Cinema Halloween screenings, as seen in Cult Hub Magazine.

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