Just Trial and Error: Conversations on Consciousness With Artist Douglas Irving Repetto and Cognitive Scientist Scott Barry Kaufman
2010, UK, Alex Gabbay, 62 min.
Includes a post-screening discussion
Douglas Irving Repetto, whose works include sculpture, installation, performance, recordings, and software, engages with NYU Professor of Psychology Scott Barry Kaufman after a screening of the new film Just Trial and Error.
Douglas Irving Repetto
Douglas Irving Repetto is an artist and teacher. His work, including sculpture, installation, performance, recordings, and software is presented internationally. He is the founder of a number of art/community-oriented groups including dorkbot: people doing strange things with electricity, ArtBots: The Robot Talent Show, an international art exhibition for robotic art and art-making robots, organism: making art with living systems, and the music-dsp mailing list and website. Douglas is Director of Research at the Columbia University Computer Music Center and lives in New York City.
Scott Barry Kaufman
Scott Barry Kaufman is a cognitive scientist and personality psychologist interested in the nature, measurement, and development of intelligence, creativity, imagination and personality. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology at New York University, Co-founder of The Creativity Post, a non-profit web platform that features quality content on creativity, innovation and imagination, and Chief Science Officer of The Future Project, an educational reform movement that aims to inspire young Americans through dynamic partnerships. Kaufman is also a contributing writer to Psychology Today, Harvard Business Review, and Huffington Post.
About the Film
What do art and science have to say about consciousness? Perhaps no aspect of the mind is more familiar or more puzzling than consciousness – it is something that has defied definition. Yet our conscious experience of self and the world is what shapes us and our history.
In an attempt to understand consciousness, filmmaker Alex Gabbay invites sculptor Antony Gormley, eminent neuroscientists Prof Brian Butterworth and Dr. Beau Lotto and internet entrepreneur Twain Luu – whose study of the 'global brain' makes fascinating reading – to explore its meaning and how it affects their area of work.
Structured in a non-linear way, the four protagonists present insights on the human brain, global consciousness, the role of the internet, perception, the space art occupies, etc. While the subjects weave in and out of each other to create the arguments, each interviewee has his or her own narrative arc. Set against a lingering score by Wajid Yaseen and witty use of visual material, the film flows like ‘a stream of consciousness,’ unfolding its own narrative from captivating interviews.
Antony Gormley is Britain’s most prominent sculptor. Gormley is a Turner prize winner and the creator of the Angel of the North, Another Place, One Another on the Fourth Plinth, in London’s Trafalgar Square, among many others. According to Gormley, his work is more about metaphysics, perception and matters of consciousness than it is about art. Gormley’s work has been the subject of several BBC documentaries.
Dr. Beau Lotto is a perceptual neuroscientist. A reader in neuroscience and head of Lottolab in University College London, Dr. Lotto is doing ground-breaking work on perception by combining art and science to show how people literally 'make sense' and create meaning. Dr. Beau Lotto has contributed to programs on Channel 4, BBC, Discovery and National Geographic channels.
Professor Brian Butterworth is a cognitive neuroscientist. A highly esteemed British Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychology at University College London, Prof Butterworth's approach has been to explore how our innate sense of numbers contributes to our perception of the world and how numbers have been central to the evolution of human society.
Twain Luu is an internet entrepreneur, the founder of an internet company which develops qualitative and quantitative tools for the web, or the conscious web, wherein information can be more readily contextualized. According to Twain, Sir Tim Berners-Lee's constructs of the semantic web are incomplete. Its forms and structures of contextualization are still not sufficiently qualitative.