The Zurich Node of the Planetary Collegium. Institute of Cultural Studies, University of Applied Arts, Zurich, Switzerland.

Ellen Levy

About the Research Image and Evidence: The Study of Attention through the Combined Lenses of Neuroscience and Art

My research proposal asks whether art can provoke new insights about the neurobiology of attention and stimulate scientific debate about its disorders. It examines how images impart information about the phenomenon of attention and explores whether classifications of its pathology may be linked to the apparent authority certain images hold. The analysis considers images in their broadest sense, including imaginative renderings, algorithmic mapping, and medical imaging. The first part will address the primary three functions of the scientific phenomenon of attention (alerting, orienting, and executive functions) and will contrast the scientific perspective with three comparable functions found in the artistic perspective. The second part will address the pathology of attention and will contrast the use of scientific technologies for the diagnosis and treatments of attention disorders with parallel artistic employment of the same tools. This part will consider how images (including those produced by medical imaging and associated with biofeedback) represent different mixtures of evidence and interpretation. The third part of the thesis will address the social construction of disease, exploring how scientists and artists approach crucial issues of standardization and classification. It will contextualize the theoretical aspects discussed within socio-economic realities. All parts will include artistic and scientific standpoints as viewed through theoretical, experiential, and comparative approaches. About the Researcher Ellen K. Levy, Ph.D.
Past President, College Art Association
Faculty, IDSVA (Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts)

Ellen K. Levy, a New York-based artist and teacher, is past president of the College Art Association. She has played a noted role in airing issues of complex systems in her art, publications, and lectures. Levy has exhibited her work widely, both in the US and abroad. In 1985 Levy received an arts commission from NASA. She was a recipient of an AICA award (1995-1996) and was a Distinguished Visiting Fellow of Arts and Sciences at Skidmore College in 1999, a position funded by the Luce Foundation. In recent years, Levy has had solo exhibitions at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University (2006, cur N Felshin), at Rider University (2009, cur H Narr), and at Michael Steinberg Fine Art, NYC (2006, 2007, and 2009). Her work was included in the exhibition 'Petroliana' for the 2nd Moscow Biennale (2007, cur E Sorokina) and was part of 'Weather Report: Art & Climate Change' (2007, cur L Lippard). Her work was also in a traveling exhibition developed by M Kemp, C Albano, and M Wallace about Mendel that originated at the Field Museum in Chicago. A guest editor of Art Journal’s, 'Contemporary Art and the Genetic Code' (1996), she has also participated in numerous exhibitions and symposia dealing with art and biotechnology. She has contributed chapters to Art et Biotechnologies (Quebec: Presses de l'Universite du Quebec, 2005), Ethics and the Visual Arts (Allworth Press, 2006), Context Providers (Intellect Press, in press), and a chapter for CAA’s upcoming centennial book. She has published in such journals as Leonardo, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Art Journal, Endeavour, and the Journal of the History of Neuroscience. She has taught art and science at Brooklyn College, Cooper Union, and SVA, and her art has been featured for covers of 'Nature:Neuroscience' and 'Neuron' as well as books on sociology and poetry. She is currently a Visiting Scholar at NYU. Website