The digital image is derived from an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) experiment in which the artist voluntarily participated as a healthy control subject. While playing a game of chance inside the scanner, the artist’s brain activity was measured. The resulting image visualises not only the otherwise invisible brain structures but also the artist’s brain activity when she was winning the game. The image is a combined product of physical measurement and digital statistical analysis. As such, it is a hybrid imprint of an actual mental event that took place inside the scanner. The image thus provides a mediated insight into the artist’s subjective mental state of experiencing satisfaction while winning a game of chance. The image’s false colours are specifically chosen for their associative, affective impact on the viewer.
Paula Muhr is a Serbian-born, Berlin-based visual artist and researcher. She studied visual arts with a focus on photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig (Germany) and holds a PhD in Visual Arts from Humboldt University in Berlin. The focus of her academic research, which is at the intersection of image studies, STS and history of science, is on examining knowledge-producing roles of various types of images in the context of natural sciences. In parallel, through her research-based artistic practice, Muhr examines socio-cultural strategies of constructing sexuality, gender, desire, and normality. Her work has been shown internationally, i.e. at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rijeka (Croatia), Fotogalerie Wien, Kunsthalle Leipzig, Fotogalleriet Format Malmö, Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes Tenerife, Centre national de l’audiovisuel Luxembourg, MAMAC Liege (Belgium), Einstein Forum Potsdam, and Shenzhen Fine Art Institute (China).