Lukas Rehm – Amygdala Empire Empirie, 2015
Aluminium, autostereoscopic Tablet, 4-Channel Audio, Room Intervetion
Amygdala Empire Empirie is a sculptural installation by Lukas Rehm.
The two core pieces – a segmented 3D scan of a primate’s skull and the tail end of a rattlesnake in aluminium – are embedded in an architectural appropriation of the exhibition spaces ceiling lights and a subtle psychosomatic 4-channel audio composition.
Carried by the hanging sculpture lies an auto-stereoscopic tablet depicting the model itself complemented with a depiction of the Amygdala – a part within the limbic system processing affect and emotion as well as autonomic and sexual behavior.
The significance and functionality of the amygdala has been explored throughout the 20th century via animal testing. John Downer's experiments at the University College London in the late 1950s proved the importance of the amygdala by the removal of one the two amygdalas of a rhesus monkey and a separation of the brain hemispheres. Thus the monkeys behavior depended on which eye was used to access the world. When the eye on the side of the intact amygdala was open the reaction to threats and potential social interactors was normal – when it was covered the primate showed neither fear, aggression or empathy. Earlier experiments in the 1930s confronted primates, whose amygdalas where entirely removed, with snakes. Despite hostile behavior and attacks by the snakes the monkeys would not fear the predators but start batting them around and play with their hissing tongues. The consequences of these observations range from military medical applications to any situation of emotionally derived plausibility.
Realized at HfG Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design
with the support of
Isaac Julien (Supervision)
Max Viktor Herbert and Tom Cullen (Installation)
Fabian Schmid (CNC cutting), Matthias Mai (Metal Workshop)
Ludger Pfanz, Jonas Piroth and Malte Paetsch (3D Expanded 3 Digital Cinema Laboratory)
Part of Group Show "Crash" (Moving Image — Isaac Julien) curated by Lukas Rehm
Text by Isaac Julien: "Amygdala Empire Empirie, a sculptural installation in two pieces. It consists of a segmented 3D scan of a primate’s skull and the tail end of a rattlesnake in aluminium, both embedded in an architectural appropriation of the ceiling lights and a 4‐channel audio composition. The installation is an extremely interesting investigation of the historical exploration and scientific experimentations around the Amygdala, the limbic system organ responsible for processing affect and emotion, as well as autonomic and sexual behaviour.