Becoming Activist Neuroaesthetics: 25 Years of

edited by Warren Neidich and Sarrita Hunn
forthcoming with Archive Books

Over the last 25 years, has developed alternative vocabularies and practices with which to rethink the fields that describe sensation, perception, and cognition. Founded in 1996, consists of the Journal of Neuroaesthetics and Chaoid Gallery and was established by Warren Neidich (with Nathalie Anglès) with an online launch in 1997. Starting with a lecture series by Neidich on neuroaesthetics at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, has also catalyzed conferences and publications that have further contributed to the field. In turn, Neidich has developed the term activist neuroaesthetics to describe an enactive and extended approach to neuroaesthetics that not only understands the importance of neural plasticity in the material brain but its entanglement with cultural plasticity. Art operates as a generator of neural diversity which has the capacity to induce complexity and variability in the intracranial brain and its cultural counterpart. Together they constitute key factors for understanding and producing social and political transformation.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of, Activist Neuroaesthetics was a festival of events curated by Warren Neidich, Susanne Prinz, and Sarrita Hunn. It was developed by lead institution Verein zur Förderung von Kunst und Kultur am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz e.V. along with various local partners and took place online and at different venues on Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin over the course of 2021. The first Activist Neuroaesthetics Symposium was followed by a three-part exhibition (Brain Without Organs, Sleep and Altered States of Consciousness, and Telepathy and New Labor with guest curator Jacquelene Drinkall) at Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz e.V., on view May through August. In July, an Activist Neuroaesthetics Conference took place in collaboration with Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art. These events formed the basis for the discursive book An Activist Neuroaesthetics Reader as well as this companion volume, which focuses on the twenty-five-year history of and the three-part Activist Neuroaesthetics exhibition.