Cogito Ergo Sum 1, 2 & 3

Chasing consciousness

What is a brain scan? Brain scans are precise scientific photographs but they are incomplete records of a person. I am fascinated by their ambiguity: the gap between what they do show (the physical structure and function of the brain) and what they don’t –the self. Brain scans have a specific meaning within a medical and scientific context, but this changes when we consider them as images of someone. For me, they signpost the interior self.

I underwent an fMRI scan at the Queen Square Imaging Centre in London for this series of 20 digital prints which tile together to form Cogito Ergo Sum  3  – I think therefore I am. It is a self-portrait – portrait of the self – located in a moment of time.  A brain scan has a potency as it seems to suggest that we can see into our minds, that it might reveal something of the self.  But it is just anatomical information. I doctored the scans and changed scale. I scratched into the scan emulsion and added images and words into the fMRI sequence to try to connect these medical images to my daily experience. Cogito Ergo Sum 3 visualizes what an MRI scan might look like if it could show what was going on in my imagination as well as the physical structure and function of my brain. These works were first shown in Scribing the Soul in 2008 and Key of Life in 2010.

I am both in my mind and out of my brain.

You can look INTO my brain but you will never find me.