Opening Reception: "Constructed Emotion"

  • 9 Aug 2024
  • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • MainSite Contemporary Art

An image of a self portrait with Deconvolutional Neural Network, pigment ink print. In this work Benjamin Murphy constructs multiple self-portraits in full profile using a series of nodes or input cells that link to a Deconvolutional Neural Network. Deconvolutional is a type of network that emulates a biological brain’s frontal lobe. There are two expressions depicted in these portraits; an expression of calm and a scream. The two represent the dichotomy that exists within the human/AI or human/knowledge relationship. The scream communicates the anxieties derived from our fear of the unknown. The calm face illustrates our symbiotic and deeply integrated relationship with science, philosophy, and technology. This work offers a reflection about our current state of being, and our ever nascent relationship with knowledge which informs a cultural ethos that continually refashions our conception of the self and soul.

Artist: Benjamin Murphy
Title: Constructed Emotion

Location: MainSite Contemporary Art

The science of emotion in changing. Our understanding of how the brain works is overturning 20th century paradigms. We once accepted as truth that emotional responses are automatic, and hardwired to specific regions of the brain. This exhibition was initially inspired by the research of Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD. Her book “How Emotions Are Made” demonstrates how “we construct each instance of emotion through a unique interplay of brain, body, and culture.” Benjamin Murphy's new body of work uses Barrett’s research as a starting point to connect emotional processes with visual language.


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