<Bettina Vismann>

Article on Neurotopgraphics by Bettina Vismann (2008) Bildwelten Band
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Educated as an architect I am interested in the physicality and
material side of space. With the research on dust as a primordial
condition for space I became increasingly interested in the physical
description of small matter, fluctuating between visibility and
invisibility. The theoretical description of dust formulated the idea
to be applied in perceptual spatial models. As architecture is
predominantly applied it seems to deal with objectives and given
conditions. The scientific model can be taken as an objective, to be
worked with, to be applied to spatial thinking, knowing that
objectivity is ephemeral when it comes to experiencing architecture.

Hugo Spiers introduced a neurosientific model at a workshop on
Microspace at the Architectural Association, which immediately caught
my interest, as the impercieveable, invisible reaction of the brain
activity is directly linked to the physical space.- correlated to the
experience of space, as the brain activity reacts differently to
various environmental situations. I find the scientific model of the
place, head direction and grid cells very inspiring to apply to the
reading of architecture. Another aspect that is most fascinating is
the allocentric character of the neuroscientific model and the notion
of subjective and objective divide. This involves the three separate
components:  a capacity to represent an egocentric space, a capacity
to represent a non- egocentric spatial realm and the capacity to
anchor the former to the latter.

To imbue the visual experience with spatial content relates to the
way architectural plans are made in a 2D mode. By organising space in
a plan you are constantly switching between an inner egocentric view
and the allo-centric representation of a plan.

The challenge of the project was to find a form of representation for
a non-visual reaction, similar to the imaging process used in
Neuroscience, where measured data is transferred to an image in order
to make the complex information readable, visually accessible. The
challenge for this project was to find and develop visual and sensual
representation, not an illustration, for the cell activity in
correlation to spatial navigation.

Through our collaboration I have understood the grid, place and head
direction cells- and their constant interaction among each other as
metric for spatial cognition and orientation. Most intriguing is the
scientific concept that the cells are creating a metric and construct
a neuronal inner mapping of spaces. This could led to the question
whether there exists a pre-constructed order.

Working on the project from three different standpoints and
sensibilities  incorporates the manifold of perceptions. By combining
them and developing a common concept, we established a productive way of communication between our respective disciplines.


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