I have just returned from ASU Emerge, an art and science festival in Tempe, Arizona. The theme of the 2017 edition was Frankenstein, “a 200-year old novel that still motivates us to think critically about our creative agency and scientific responsibility”. I was there mostly to talk about Neurocomic and document the amazing work done by the other participants but since the science behind Frankenstein has interesting connections with the history of neuroscience and a little known Italian scientist from my hometown, Bologna, I decided to make a special minicomic for the occasion (very much in the spirit of the Little Albert Experiment).
Here is a digital version for those of you who couldn’t get a copy at the event. Many thanks to ASU and the organizers for supporting my work!
PS: as usual you can read this story also on Medium.
I have been kind of quiet lately. The reason is that I started working at Science-Practice two weeks ago and I’ve been too busy learning about amazing new technologies. This is going to slow down my drawing for a while but no doubts it’s also going to inspire some pretty futuristic comics at some point, so stay tuned!
Talking about the future: after a Sunday immersion at Futurefest, this week I’m back in Italy to present Neurocomic at the Settimana Del Cervello. This is an excellent (neuro)science communication festival which I remember attending back when I was still an undergraduate in Bologna, before I even decided to study the brain (let alone writing a comic about it!). So I was very pleased to receive this invitation and, if you happen to be near Trieste, I hope you’ll join me this Saturday 21 March, 17:30 at the Libreria Lovat.
This month neuroscience lost one of its great masters: Vernon B. Mountcastle, who first discovered the columnar organization of the cerebral cortex. His pioneering work has been awarded many prizes and laid the foundations for a lot of contemporary research in the field (including my PhD). Many excellent articles have already been written about it, but I wanted to pay my personal tribute to this great explorer of the brain. Here is how he would have appeared in Neurocomic, reaching new peaks of scientific discovery:
This blog is going to be on hiatus for a while, as I will be travelling quite a lot around Italy to promote Neurocomic. In case you miss my comics, here is a list of the various places and festivals where you will be able to find them (and me).
The trip to New York is mostly an holiday but if you’re around and want me to sign some books or simply have a chat, why not, just let me know.
I’m looking forward to meet some new friends as well as to catch up with the old ones.
Today has been exactly 5 months since the opening of our exhibition at The Cube. Our last event was all about memory so I made this special illustration of the Hippocampus patiently working away in his cave. The theme seems particularly relevant now, since September will also mark the first anniversary of Neurocomic, published by Nobrow in September 2013. Boy, what a year this has been… I never expected so many good memories could be packed in such a short time, my hippocampus feels giddy!
But let’s not linger too much on the past. Even if our exhibition in London will soon be closing, you will be able to find some of the original drawings during the Treviso Comic Book Festival. I will be there as well and at many other festivals. More news are about to come, always remember to check out my blog or follow me on Twitter @matteofarinella.
Great news! From tomorrow you should be able to find the beautiful Italian edition of Neurocomicby Rizzoli Lizard.
As you may know, I have been living abroad for most of my adult life and I am not particularly inclined to nationalistic sentimentalities, but I can’t help feeling some pride in seeing this book translated in my mother tongue. So I have decided to indulge in a little celebratory drawing: here is Luigi Galvani, pioneer of neuroscience, losing his experimental subjects in a dark and stormy Bologna (our common hometown). The comic geeks amongst you can also have some fun spotting a couple of hidden references to popular Italian logos.
Thanks to all of you who supported me. When I started working on Neurocomic two years ago I would have never imagined this day would come.
Here is a little illustration inspired by the latest Neurocomic talk atThe Cube London. Our guest speaker Philip Loring, curator of Psychology at the Science Museum, guided us through the fascinating history of electrotherapy with a series of paintings, concluding with The Nerves Of The Army by CRW Nevinson.
So I think this also counts as my monthly copy, although heavily modified to omage Dr. Duchenne de Bolougne, one of the fathers of modern neurology and great practitioner of electrotherapy himself, which he employed to study the “physiology of emotions”. His pionering photographs were later used for the illustrations in Darwin’s book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.
Also, did you know that Duchenne ‘determined that smiles resulting from true happiness not only utilize the muscles of the mouth but also those of the eyes. Such “genuine” smiles are known as Duchenne smiles in his honor’ ?
This is why I love Wikipedia.
Finally, if this electric medley of science-art and history is not enough for your voracious brains, I strongly recommend the recent article Can you supercharge your brain? on Mosaic Science, reporting the current applications of transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) in military training. Some crazy story…
May has been a pretty busy month: I’m back at work on the second season of MCB80x and I also started a new exciting collaboration with another American university… but I still found the time to make this little illustration, inspired by the talk Mike Jay gave on the 3rd of May, part of a series of events accompanying the Neurocomic exhibition at TheCube. If you are in London please come to see Philip Loringtalk on the 5th of June.
The illustration represents a molecule of endorphin getting distracted, while a sneaky opioid opens a μ receptor. Opium (also known as ‘poppy tears’) is one the most popular drugs of all times. Read more about the history of mind altering substances in High Society.
This month I didn’t have time to make any copy because I was busy setting up the Neurocomicexhibition (if you happen to be in London please join us on the 3rd of April at TheCube). However, I made this Arcimboldo-inspired illustration for a fundraising dinner which Dr. Jacopo Annese is organizing in San Diego. You can think of it of a sagittal section of this guy:
I made this illustration of Cajal in a thriving neuronal forest for the cover of Reader’s Bench magazineSpring issue.Amongst the many free contents you can also read an interview where I talk about the genesis of my books 6 gradi di separazione, and Neurocomic (well, at least if you can read Italian).
By the way, the 3rd of April an exhibition with original Neurocomic artwork is opening at The Cube, 155 Commercial street, London E1 6BJ.
Come and join us from 6:30 pm to celebrate neuroscience and Spring in their lovely courtyard!