Eric R. Kandel: The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present (2012)

31 January 2014, dusan

“A book by Nobel Prize winner Eric R. Kandel, The Age of Insight takes us to Vienna 1900, where leaders in science, medicine, and art began a revolution that changed forever how we think about the human mind—our conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotions—and how mind and brain relate to art.

At the turn of the century, Vienna was the cultural capital of Europe. Artists and scientists met in glittering salons, where they freely exchanged ideas that led to revolutionary breakthroughs in psychology, brain science, literature, and art. Kandel takes us into the world of Vienna to trace, in rich and rewarding detail, the ideas and advances made then, and their enduring influence today.

The Vienna School of Medicine led the way with its realization that truth lies hidden beneath the surface. That principle infused Viennese culture and strongly influenced the other pioneers of Vienna 1900. Sigmund Freud shocked the world with his insights into how our everyday unconscious aggressive and erotic desires are repressed and disguised in symbols, dreams, and behavior. Arthur Schnitzler revealed women’s unconscious sexuality in his novels through his innovative use of the interior monologue. Gustav Klimt, Oscar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele created startlingly evocative and honest portraits that expressed unconscious lust, desire, anxiety, and the fear of death.

Kandel tells the story of how these pioneers—Freud, Schnitzler, Klimt, Kokoschka, and Schiele—inspired by the Vienna School of Medicine, in turn influenced the founders of the Vienna School of Art History to ask pivotal questions such as What does the viewer bring to a work of art? How does the beholder respond to it? These questions prompted new and ongoing discoveries in psychology and brain biology, leading to revelations about how we see and perceive, how we think and feel, and how we respond to and create works of art. Kandel, one of the leading scientific thinkers of our time, places these five innovators in the context of today’s cutting-edge science and gives us a new understanding of the modernist art of Klimt, Kokoschka, and Schiele, as well as the school of thought of Freud and Schnitzler. Reinvigorating the intellectual enquiry that began in Vienna 1900, The Age of Insight is a wonderfully written, superbly researched, and beautifully illustrated book that also provides a foundation for future work in neuroscience and the humanities. It is an extraordinary book from an international leader in neuroscience and intellectual history.”

Publisher Random House, 2012
ISBN 1588369307, 9781588369307
656 pages
via quackalist

Interview with the author (NPR)
Review (Alexander C. Kafka, The Chronicle Review)
Review (Roxanne Powell, The Vienna Review)
Review (Briefly Noted, The New York Times)
Review (Peter F. Buckley, The American Journal of Psychiatry)
Review (Jonah Lehrer, Wired)


Charts and Images from the book

Computational Culture, a Journal of Software Studies, Issue One: A Billion Gadget Minds (2011)

12 March 2012, dusan

Computational Culture is an online open-access peer-reviewed journal of inter-disciplinary enquiry into the nature of cultural computational objects, practices, processes and structures.

“This first issue of Computational Culture is loosely based on the proceedings of a workshop held in Central London in October 2010. Entitled ‘A Billon Gadgets Minds: Thinking Widgets, Data and Workflow’, the aim of the workshop was: “To evaluate the ways in which contemporary hardware and software augment and distribute intelligence, as well as the ensemble of social relations which form around thinking practices as they synchronise, mesh, de-couple, breakdown and collapse with variable effects”.” (from Editorial)

With contributions by Michael Wheeler, Anna Munster, Ingmar Lippert, Luciana Parisi and Stamatia Portanova, Lev Manovich, Yuk Hui, Benedikte Zitouni, Michael Batty, Olga Goriunova, Jentery Sayers, M. Beatrice Fazi

Editorial group: Matthew Fuller, Andrew Goffey, Olga Goriunova, Graham Harwood, Adrian Mackenzie
Published in December 2011
Open access
ISSN 2047-2390


Journal of Neuro-Aesthetic Theory, No 1-5 (1997-2011)

19 October 2011, dusan

Journal of Neuro-Aesthetic Theory #5 (2007-11)
Neurobiopolitics, Pluripotentiality and Cognitive Capitalism, a work in progress…
View online (HTML articles)

Journal of Neuro-Aesthetic Theory #4 (2005-07)
Conference of Neuroaesthetics
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Journal of Neuro-Aesthetic Theory #3 (2003-04)
Buildings, Movies and Brains.
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Journal of Neuro-Aesthetic Theory #2 (2000-02)
Cinema and the Brain
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Journal of Neuro-Aesthetic Theory #1 (1997-99)
Introduction to Neuro-Aesthetic Theory
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Contributors: Warren Neidich, Charles T. Wolfe, Andrew Patrizio, Philippe Rahm, Meena Alexander, Michael Madore, Martina Wicklein, Martina Siebert, Norman M. Klein, Michael Salcman, Nicholas Wade, Nicholas Chase, Nathalie Angles, Martha Trivizas, Nicola Diamond, Mark Cohen, Lev Manovich, Laura U. Marks, Lucy Steeds, Mark Bishop, Olafur Eliasson, Margarita Gluzberg, Marcos Novak, M. A. Greenstein, Marquard Smith, Paul D. Miller -DJ Spooky, Vivian Sobchack, W. H. Zangemeister, Thyrza Goodeve, Warren Sack, Zoe Beloff, Yann Beauvais, William Hirstein, Stuart Brisley, Peter Brugger, Ralph Greenspan, Penny Starfield, Kodwo Eshun, Sarat Maharaj, Scott Lash, Steven Holl, Karen Beckman, Colin Gardner, Conerly Casey, Christiane Paul, Chloe Vaitsou, Daniel Blaufuks, Diana Thater, Ken Jacobs, Dennis Balk, David J. McGonigle, Charlie Gere, Armen Avanessian, Arnold H. Modell, Anjan Chatterjee, Andreas Roepstorff, Barbara Marie Stafford, Brian Massumi, Bernard Andrieu, Beau Lotto, Elizabeth Cohen and Michael Talley, John Welchman, Janet Sternburg, Elizabeth S. CohenJonathan Green, Joseph Kosuth, Andrea Grunert, Juli Carson and Lindi Emoungu, Jules Davidoff, Isabelle Moffat, Israel Rosenfeld, Francois Bucher, Eric Duyckaerts, Ellen K. Levy and David E. Levy, gruppo A12 and Francisca Insulza, Gregg Lambert and Gregory Flaxman

Initiated by Warren Neidich