Marta de Menezes: Functional Portraits

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03.07 - 04.15.2008

Marta de Menezes: Functional Portraits
special reception: Friday, April 4, 2008 5 - 9 pm
Koscielak Gallery
1646 N. Bosworth Ave.
Chicago, IL

In portraits, artists have been trying to represent not only the physical appearance of the subject, but also characteristics of the personality, by using the pose, elements in the composition, and even the choice of techniques. Science has developed powerful techniques to visualize what is hidden under the skin: and not only morphological characteristics, but also functional data. In Functional Portraits Marta de Menezes has been using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain, in order to visualize the regions of the brain that are active while a given task is being performed. With this visual information it becomes possible to create portraits - "functional portraits"- where besides the physical appearance of the subject, the function of its brain while performing a chosen task is represented. For example, she created a self-portrait incorporating images of her brain activity while drawing inside the fMRI scanner; a portrait of scientist Dr. Patricia Figueiredo allows the visualization of her brain activity while she was playing the piano.

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