Self Portrait Homunculus

I’ve been reading about art and the brain in The Age of Insight, by Nobel Prize winning neurobiologist Eric Kandel. He relates brain physiology and anatomy, and recent brain mapping studies to the way humans perceive and appreciate art on conscious and unconscious levels.

The central sulcus in the human is the crevice that separates the frontal lobe from the parietal lobe. The ‘roll of meat’, or gyrus in the parietal lobe adjacent to the central sulcus is the somatosensory cortex, the target of all the signals from the sensory neurons. Wilder Penfield discovered that parts of the body are represented in terms of the number of sensory nerves in each anatomic structure. The sensitive thumb and tips of fingers command more of the sensory cortex than the legs, for example. The resulting map of the body on the sensory cortex is a distorted ‘little man’, or homunculus. There is an analogous brain map on the frontal lobe adjacent to the central sulcus representing the targets of the motor neurons in the body.

Sensory Homunculus

Sensory Homunculus

With this concept in mind, I photographed myself, emphasizing the most important sensory/motor portion of my anatomy as relates to creating art.

Photograph: Shadow Portrait

Self Portrait Art Homunculus


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