In a sense, we all have an Inner Cinema – networks of brain cells that through their intricate electrochemical communication evoke pattern recognition and emotions, and underlie all other aspects of cognition and of motion. Making brain cells in a dish in the lab is practically real-life sci-fi, and an important part of what I do for my PhD project, investigating a genetic form of neurodegenerative disease. Through digitally manipulating microscope photos of fluorescent dye-labelled cellular subcomponents of human neurons (a type of brain cell), which I’ve personally grown in the lab, I’ve created ambiguous and self-recursive dreamscapes.
One may find eyes and other recognisable objects upon closer examination. This “pareidolia” arises from the fact that we’re hardwired to pay attention to certain things in our environment which carry large amounts of salient information for us. The human environment is remarkably social, making us experts at recognising the presence of eyes and reading intention in them. However, because we are also constantly inferring all kinds of patterns from minimal information, we often make false positive errors, which becomes evident when we are absorbed by the cryptic stimuli from the Inner Cinema project.
More broadly speaking, Inner Cinema underscores how art is a window into not just one's own individual psyche, but often also into the collective psyche, as we share important neurological structures ancestrally inherited and shaped through aeons.