Warren Neidich


22 APR · 18H30 · Warren Neidich
Noise and the Brain without Organs Art

On-Line Lecture
Moderator · Cristina Sá

Noise is prevalent in our post-industrial society. Whether presenting as the cacophony of the factory and war machine, the racket caused by the anarchic movement of cars and trucks, the clamor of grunge music emanating from loud speakers in a mall or the static clogging of information networks, noise gets a bad rap. It is usually considered offensive and something that needs to be controlled or mitigated. However, noise has another side more positive and emancipatory as it today represents a ways and means to constitute new forms of knowledge and of ways of understanding organization. This contemporary conception of noise creates new possibilities for the forms, shapes and events that characterize and acoustically shape the sound track constituting our cultural landscapes – be they real, imaginary or virtual. Where in the past noise was something to be suppressed, today it is a key concept in notions of emergence, complexity and non-linearity. Today, noise and uncertainty are embraced alongside contingency as a driving force of innovation, creativity and resistance.

After describing the new framework I call Activist Neuroaesthetics I want to understand a new possibility for noise as an disarticulator between the material conditions of the disruptive cultural associations and attention networks that embracing noise generates, what I refer to as the extra- -cranial brain, and the material architecture of the intra-cranial brain housed in the bony skull. Key here is the intracranial brains entanglement with and mirroring of cultural plasticity. I want to explore the emancipatory political consequences of the cacophony of indeterminacy and improvisation and its cultural logic to understand the links between it and the brains neural variation and plasticity.


Having studied photography, neuroscience, medicine and architecture, Warren Neidich brings to any discussion platform a unique interdisciplinary position that he calls “trans-thinking.” He currently uses video and neon to create cross pollinating conceptual text-based works that reflect upon situations at the border zone of art, science and social justice. His performative and sculptural work “Pizzagate Neon” (2018), a large hanging neon sculpture recently on display at the 2019 Venice Biennial, analyzed the relations of Fake News, networked attention economy, evolving techno-cultural habitus, and the co-evolving architecture of the brain.
His recent conceptual project Drive-By-Art (Public Sculpture in This Moment of Social Distancing) just opened on the South Fork of Long Island and Los Angeles to acclaim including reviews in The New York Times, Hyperallergic, The Art Newspaper, Time Out and Los Angeles Magazine. He is founder and director of the SaasFee Summer Institute of Art (2015-), a theory intensive postgraduate course that attracts students worldwide operating in Los Angeles, New York City and Berlin.
In 1996, he founded www.artbrain.org and the Journal of Neuroaesthetics which is still active today including a recent issue on “Art and Telepathy.” He is a recipient of the Vilem Flusser Theory Award, Transmediale, AHRB/ACE Arts and Science Research Fellowship, Bristol and a Fulbright Scholarship. Additionally, he was a tutor in the departments of visual art, computer science and cultural studies at Goldsmiths College (2004-2008) where, in collaboration with the Center for Cultural Studies, he created the first conference on Neuroaesthetics (2005), as well as a Department of Neuroaesthetics (2005-2008). As a remote research fellow at TU Delft School of Architecture he coedited (with Deborah Hauptmann) Cognitive Architecture: From Biopolitics to Noo-Politics. Thereafter, he edited three volumes of the Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism, published by Archive Books, and Neuromacht, published in German by Merve Verlag. His Glossary of Cognitive Activism was published for the opening of his solo exhibition “Rumor to Delusion” at the 2019 Venice Biennial. Recently, he served as Professor of Art at Weißensee Kunsthochschule in Berlin (2017-2018).
He has been a visiting lecturer in art departments at Brown University, GSD Harvard University, Columbia University, Princeton University, Southern California Institute of Architecture, UCLA, La Sorbonne Paris, University of Oxford and Cambridge University.