Just Trial and Error: Conversations on Consciousness
2010, UK, Alex Gabbay, 62 min.
Includes a post-screening discussion and admission to the museum's galleries.
Performance artist Christine Sun Kim engages with Jesse Prinz, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York, Graduate Center, after a screening of the new film Just Trial and Error.
Christine Sun Kim
Christine Sun Kim lives and works in New York City. She is currently a MFA candidate in Sound/Music at Bard College. Her drawings, sculptures, and performances have been featured in exhibitions/programs at Recess Activities, Inc., New York; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy; and Takt Kunstprojektraum, Berlin. She participated in the Youth Insights Artist Residency at Whitney Museum in 2010, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Swing Space program in 2009. To view her past and upcoming projects, visit christinesunkim.com.
Jesse Prinz is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York, Graduate Center. His research focuses on the perceptual, emotional, and cultural foundations of human psychology. He is author of Furnishing the Mind: Concepts and Their Perception Basis (MIT, 2002), Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion (Oxford, 2004), The Emotional Construction of Morals (Oxford), Beyond Human Nature: How Culture and Experience Shape Our Lives (Penguin/Norton, 2011), and The Conscious Brain: How Attention Engenders Experience (Oxford, in press), with another title, Works of Wonder: The Psychology and Ontology of Art (Oxford), in progress.
About the Film
What do art and science have to say about consciousness? Perhaps no aspect of the mind is more familiar or more puzzling than consciousness – it is something that has defied definition. Yet our conscious experience of self and the world is what shapes us and our history.
In an attempt to understand consciousness, filmmaker Alex Gabbay invites sculptor Antony Gormley, eminent neuroscientists Prof Brian Butterworth and Dr. Beau Lotto and internet entrepreneur Twain Luu – whose study of the 'global brain' makes fascinating reading – to explore its meaning and how it affects their area of work.
Structured in a non-linear way, the four protagonists present insights on the human brain, global consciousness, the role of the internet, perception, the space art occupies, etc. While the subjects weave in and out of each other to create the arguments, each interviewee has his or her own narrative arc. Set against a lingering score by Wajid Yaseen and witty use of visual material, the film flows like ‘a stream of consciousness,’ unfolding its own narrative from captivating interviews.
Antony Gormley is Britain’s most prominent sculptor. Gormley is a Turner prize winner and the creator of the Angel of the North, Another Place, One Another on the Fourth Plinth, in London’s Trafalgar Square, among many others. According to Gormley, his work is more about metaphysics, perception and matters of consciousness than it is about art. Gormley’s work has been the subject of several BBC documentaries.
Dr. Beau Lotto is a perceptual neuroscientist. A reader in neuroscience and head of Lottolab in University College London, Dr. Lotto is doing ground-breaking work on perception by combining art and science to show how people literally 'make sense' and create meaning. Dr. Beau Lotto has contributed to programs on Channel 4, BBC, Discovery and National Geographic channels.
Professor Brian Butterworth is a cognitive neuroscientist. A highly esteemed British Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychology at University College London, Prof Butterworth's approach has been to explore how our innate sense of numbers contributes to our perception of the world and how numbers have been central to the evolution of human society.
Twain Luu is an internet entrepreneur, the founder of an internet company which develops qualitative and quantitative tools for the web, or the conscious web, wherein information can be more readily contextualized. According to Twain, Sir Tim Berners-Lee's constructs of the semantic web are incomplete. Its forms and structures of contextualization are still not sufficiently qualitative.