The process of writing my MA thesis called forth echoes of the last time I wrote a master’s thesis: we used laboratory rats, implanting electrodes in rat brains and recording signals for a month, until scar tissue formed around the electrodes. Then we killed them, bled them out so the brain tissue would not be clotted with blood, decapitated them and sliced up the brains.
It was for knowledge.It was for discovery. It was (maybe?) for helping humanity. They were all named Fred.
Half my lifetime later, neuroscience still depends largely on animal experimentation, which is only an extreme case of using animals for our own benefit. We didn’t merely domesticate the species of laboratory rats, we created them for and only for these uses. We use them as mirrors, but deny the likeness.
If we wish to change this situation, we must look beyond ourselves. So, we return to the zero point, and with the mind of a beginner, observe what there is, nonjudgmentally. Instead of a narcissistic performance of guilt, this is a true action of taking responsibility. Brain signals from one Fred speak to us in this moment for all the Freds, as yet in code, but we stand and experience the sound, meeting them as equals.
Deepa R. Iyengar creates or explores spaces in order to discover what is missing, invisible, or unrealized. Her most frequent themes are power, control, and liberation, under the watching eye or within the responding body. Deepa is a resident of Iceland, and holds previous degrees in physics and neuroscience from the US, where she is from. She has participated in solo and group shows in Iceland, the US, and elsewhere.
Deepa’s portfolio may be viewed at deepa_list on Instagram.
The sonification of the rat brain signals for this show was created in collaboration with Robin Morabito:
Opening: March 24th, kl 16-19
Hours: March 25th – April 1st kl 11-17,
and by appointment through April 8th (email deepa21 [at]