Microtubuli: Consciousness and Art

Hans Borgonjon is an artist with a background in philosophy and art history. He draws his inspiration for ‘Microtubuli X4’ from such scientists/philosophers as David Chalmers, Stuart Hammeroff and Roger Penrose.

Hans Borgonjon: Microtubuli X 4 (porcelain and rew)

Hans Borgonjon: Microtubuli X 4 (porcelain and rew)

‘Microtubuli X4’ is a work where the idea was developed and instigated during my studies in philosophy and was more precisely inspired by David J. Chalmers, writer of ‘A Conscious Mind’. According to Chalmers there is an ineffable quality to our experiences that cannot be translated or reduced to a mechanic, physical or biochemical state. Can we convey the colour blue or the taste of chocolate to somebody who has never seen the colour blue or tasted chocolate? Daniel C. Dennett counter argument claims in ‘Consciousness Explained’ that this ineffable quality or qualia (a term used by Chalmers) will in time be able to be reduced and explained by scientist to a mechanical process in the brain/body. This ineffable quality, according to Dennett is a remnant of our Cartesian ghost in the machine. There is no such thing as a homunculus in our brain according to Dennett.

17. Microtubule, 23cm dia, porcelain and rew
16. Microtubule porcelain and rew, 25 cm dia
15. Microtubule porcelain, 25 cm dia
14. Microtubuli x 3 - 25 cm dia each
13b. Microtubuli stage 1
13. Microtubuli computergenerated
10. Carthesian Theatre - Porcelain, 45 cm dia
9c. 'Structured Qualia' semi-porcelain and rew, 50 cm dia- 80 cm H, 2010
8. Internal - rew and gold luster, 20 cm dia
7.Jaws Internal porcelain and REW- 25 cm dia
5. Microtubuli XL- Rew- 50 cm dia
4. Microtubuli XL Porcelain- 50 cm dia
3. Sideview Microtubuli X4
2. Microtubuli X 4 Detail
11.Microtubuli sketch

 

While I was trying to come to terms with both sides of the argument two neuro scientists/philosophers caught my interest: Stuart Hammeroff and Roger Penrose. They claim that microtubule; an electroscopic small part of the neuro synapses is in some way linked with our consciousness. Hammeroff and Penrose argue that microtubuli are at the heart of our consciousness. They suggest that microtubuli are part of quantum-processes in the brain in turn leading to our consciousness and possibly explain to some extent self awareness. This seemed to bring some kind of answer to the ineffable quality of an experience.

1st hand experience and its ineffability are very important to me because they are at the heart of art. Art is a kind of communication that can convey concepts and that are ineffable and therefore by its own nature very difficult to put into words. Abstraction, juxtapositioning, form, shape and texture can convey an idea or concept where words become a barrier to comprehension. Philosophy on the other hand tries to put into words very difficult concepts that are mostly ineffable. This is a contradiction in terms if there ever was one. Hence the difficult, complicated and sometimes convoluted language philosophers have to use.

With Microtubuli X4 I have accentuated the qualia by taking away extraneous and superfluous details. The form, shape and colour speak for itself. The forms are ambiguous. They are familiar but also abstract. They are organic and at the same time constructed. The shapes are tactile but very fragile and therefore stopping you from touching them. By taking away details and leaving familiarity I’m trying to accentuate the experience itself of viewing my work. This work has been seminal to a development of a large body of work. It opened up new directions shapes, forms and ideas: the ‘Qualia’ series, ‘Internal’ pieces, ‘Mouthful’, ‘Jaws’ and ‘Carthesian Theatre’.

Hans Borgonjon: 'Structured Qualia' semi-porcelain and rew, 50 cm dia- 80 cm H, 2010

Hans Borgonjon: ‘Structured Qualia’ semi-porcelain and rew, 50 cm dia- 80 cm H, 2010

Hans Borgonjon: Jaws Internal porcelain and REW- 25 cm dia

Hans Borgonjon: Jaws Internal porcelain and REW- 25 cm dia

Hans Borgonjon: Carthesian Theatre - Porcelain, 45 cm dia

Hans Borgonjon: Carthesian Theatre – Porcelain, 45 cm dia

www.hansborgonjon.co.uk/

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