Manitoba Craft Council: Neurocraft, March 3-31

An exhibition of work inspired by the brain.

Curated by Seema Goel

ash alberg, Dana Klette, Heather Komus, Chantel Mierau, Lesley Nakonechny, Ann Stinner, Gaetanne Sylvester, Peter Tittenberger and Michelle Wilson.

March 3 - 31, 2017
John Buhler Research Centre Atrium (HSC)
715 McDermot Ave, Winnipeg MB
Hours: Monday to Friday 9am - 6pm
Opening Reception: March 3, 7 - 10pm

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At first blush, neuroscience and craft may seem an unlikely pairing. To the average human on the street, neuroscience is high tech, innovative, smart. (Okay, maybe it's a bit nerdy, but as the Huffington Post recently declared, nerdy is the new sexy!) Craft, on the other hand, is simple, traditional, homey. Rocket science notwithstanding, neuroscience is the go-to metaphor for something of the highest order of difficulty – tasks requiring extreme skillfulness, expertise and at least three university degrees. Craft is the quintessential course for dummies – cue Basket-Making 101 with laugh track. Anyone with internet access can DIY their way through literally millions of youtube craft tutorials and hang out an Etsy shingle. Not so much with brain surgery.
Dig a little deeper, however, to the land beyond stereotypes, and the connections between contemporary craft and neuroscience begin to take shape. Practitioners of both are concerned with understanding the traditions and knowledge base of their fields. They are both constantly innovating and using new technologies to experiment and create knowledge. Both value creative thinking, skill mastery under the tutelage of experienced mentors, professionalism, and care.
The goal of the Neurocraft collaboration and exhibition is to bring together neuroscientists and craftspeople to create new work inspired by the brain. The initial motivation, for the neuroscience partners, was public outreach: how to communicate with a broader audience about neuroscience research? While neuroscience may seem ivory tower, craft welcomes all to its humble abode. The down-to-earth accessibility that can sometimes be its downfall is also key to craft's accessibility. Warm and unassuming, craft is ideally placed to communicate complicated or difficult concepts.
For craftspeople, the draw of Neurocraft was access to specialized scientific knowledge, equipment and research that would feed their artistic practices and explorations. Over a two-year period, nine neuroscientists were matched with nine craft artists. They were invited to share together about their work, ask questions, and follow whatever pathways emerged from these conversations. This exhibition is the result.

-Tammy Sutherland, Director, Manitoba Craft Council