Emotional Cognition – Center for Data Gastronification

With: Jonathon Keats, David Marx, Riccardo Torresi, Agustina V. Palermo

Conceptual artist and experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats takes research on the enteric system as a starting point for considering alternate modes of comprehension that don't directly engage our gray matter. The project is based on recent neuroscientific research, which shows that the enteric nervous system actively modulates emotions through a complex of more than thirty neurotransmitters. Our brains may simply be too rational for our collective good. Manyclaim to feel fairness as an emotion in their gut, a belief supported by this research. In these challenging times, we might need to recognize our brains' limitations - and give our enteric nervous system a chance to digest current scientific knowledge in order to inform our personal behavior and political decisions.

By developing a method, which he calls “data gastronification”, Jonathon Keats wants to engage the emotional cognition of people’ stomachs and intestines in getting a better understanding of “wicked” problems involving a huge number of different data sets and influencing factors, such as for example in anthropogenic climate change.

Instead of visualizing model projections for processing by the visual cortex and brain, Keats’ method makes the data fit for consumption, literally: flow diagrams are reformulated as recipes, which can be cooked up and digested. Different scenarios and conditions will now be represented in culinary terms.

Researchers from all fields and artists engaging with the natural and social sciences are encouraged to take part, and to develop recipes based on models and data that are used, developed or collected in their area of research.