Cartography of the Symptom


As researchers like Hugh Herr of M.I.T. Media Lab's Biomechatronics Group develop more sophisticated protheses for locomotion, research has also focused on phantom limb sensations of amputees and the neurological activity in specific areas of the brain related to the mapping of body surface and sensation. Neuroscientific studies are attempting to configure the existing map which the brain uses to configure the body and in the case of trauma, the disconnect which occurs when the map does not match the body. This condition of the phantom limb will be further elaborated at a conference entitled The Phantom Limb Phenomena at Goldsmiths College in London, Jan. 15th and 16th. Organized by visiting artist Warren Niedich and Jules Davidoff, the conference will convene on this specific neurobiological issue, but also address the manifestations of the topic within psychological research, art practice and other philosophical reflections on presence and absence, loss and memory. The format suggests an earnest attempt to conflate current techno-scientific research with contemporary aesthetic and philosophical questions. - David Senior