Questioning the truth of images
by Dr. Hugo Heyrman, Antwerp 2008

I paint missing links, reflections on neurological processes."

1. What is an image?
An image is a reference to some aspect of the world which contains within its own structure and in terms of its own structure a reference to the act of cognition which generated it. It must say, not that the world is like this, but that it was recognized to have been like this by the image-maker, who leaves behind this record: not of the world, but of the act. An image is formed in the mind by patterns of neural activity. Visual consciousness is not a single unified entity, but consists of many microconsciousnesses.

2. When and where is an image?
Vision results from three distinct and successive processes: optical, chemical and nervous. White matter consists of bundles of neuronal axons that form connections between neurons, allowing brain regions to communicate with each other. Gray matter, or cortex, is where the bodies of neurons are located. You see (perceive) what you are.

3. How does an image takes form?
The brain processes information in a specific order, and this serial processing is hierarchial. Perception can be defined as attaching significance to visual information. The cognitive work of images; colour, form, and movement are not perceived simultaneously. Visual information regarding form, movement, colour and depth are each processed by a different group of neurons in the brain, for example colour is perceived before orientation, which is perceived before motion. An image takes form by sequential neural actions. Neurological processes are based on the fact that the brain and the body can't lie. The mind is what the brain does. We are neural beings. Neuroscience will give rise to a new type of human society, a post-industrial, post-informational, neurosociety. (1) (2)

1. Somaesthetics can be provisionally defined as the critical meliorative study of one's experience and use of one's body as a locus of sensory-aesthetic appreciation (aesthesis) and creative self-fashioning.
2. The team of Yukiyasu Kamitani (ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan) has used an image of brain activity taken in a functional MRI scanner to recreate a black-and-white image from scratch. "By analysing the brain signals when someone is seeing an image, we can reconstruct that image," says Kamitani. The next step is to find out if it is possible to image things that people are thinking of, as well as what they are looking at. It may be possible to "make a videotape of a dream" says John-Dylan Haynes of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany.