Science-Art: Neuronaturalism Beyond the Decentred Spectator


Science-art collaborations are a growth area. An example is the Wellcome Collection exhibition “States of Mind”. I focus on one work yellowbluepink by Ann Veronica Janssens. As framed within the exhibition this piece is understood to present a model of spectatorship in which the art-encounter prompts an awareness of the  p o s s i b i l i t y  of neuroscientific self-understanding. I take it that science-art projects want to spread this celebration of “objective thought”; this is their realist agenda. The scientific framing of yellowbluepink fails in this regard because of a striking contradiction at its heart. The dominant art historical interpretation of this piece includes a spectator who is “decentred”,  u n a b l e  to know him or herself. This contradiction creates a methodological problem for the project, one that negatively impacts its ability to  a m b i t i o u s l y  promote its agenda. On the basis of this analysis I sketch out the conditions for an ambitious project. It would need to acknowledge the “artworld” and it would require the invention of a new model of spectatorship, one that promoted (self)-awareness of humankinds’ impressive epistemic capacity. This anti-phenomenological figure is formulated with reference to the nemocentric subject.


Art, Ann Veronica Janssens, Neuroscience, The Nemocentric Subject, Ray Brassier, Realism, The Decentred Spectator, Rosalind E Krauss, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology

How to cite:

Klee, Steve. “Science-Art: Neuronaturalism Beyond the Decentred Spectator.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 1, no. 2 (2017): 78–93. https://doi.org/10.26319/2917.


Steve Klee
University of Lincoln
Brayford Pool, Lincoln LN6 7TS, United Kingdom


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