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What is Consciousness?—A Neurohumanities Lunchtime Seminar

Time

(Monday) 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Location

Schrödinger Theatre, Fitzgerald Building, School of Physics Dublin

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Event Information

In 1943, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Erwin Schrödinger gave three public lectures entitled ‘What is Life?’ at Trinity College Dublin. These lectures expanded the field of biology, and we are marking their 75th anniversary with a special series of lunchtime seminars.

Returning to the theatre in which Schrödinger delivered those iconic lectures, we will discuss the exciting and dynamic interface between neuroscience and the humanities, as part of Trinity College Dublin’s Neurohumanities programme. Each seminar will be chaired by an academic whose research intersects with the themes of “What is Life?”, and will feature four speakers—two from the sciences, and two from the humanities.

Our third discussion will explore the the theme of CONSCIOUSNESS. Chaired by Dr Paul Dockree from the School of Psychology, speakers will include Dr Lorina Naci from the School of Psychology, Dr Lorraine Leeson, Director of the Centre for Deaf Studies, and Dr Noel Fitzpatrick, Dean of Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media at DIT.

Light lunch will be provided after the seminar.

About the Series

The What is Life? — Neurohumanities Lunchtime Seminar Seriesis organised as part of Schrödinger at 75—The Future of Biology, a major conference to mark the 75th anniversary of “What is Life?” taking place in the National Concert Gall on the 5th and 6th of September, 2018.

The Neurohumanities programme is supported by a 2016 Wellcome Trust ISSF Award to Trinity College Dublin. This collaborative programme is directed by the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN), Trinity Long Room Hub (TLRH) and Science Gallery Dublin (SGD), chaired by Mani Ramaswami, Director TCIN and supported by Aisling Hume in the TCIN.

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GradCAM at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia

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Event Details

Our everyday lives are becoming increasingly entangled with data technologies. The Irish Pavilion addresses the utopian fantasy of the Cloud, as a romantic metaphor: The cloud is material. By foregrounding the physicality of data infrastructure and its impact on the environment the pavilion hopes to both reframe how we understand data production and its impact on everyday life.The 2021 Irish Pavilion exhibition, Entanglement, at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of LaBiennale di Venezia, will explore the materiality of data, and the interwoven human, environmental and cultural impacts of communication technologies. The exhibition will highlight how data production and consumption territorialise the physical landscape, and examine Ireland’s place in the pan-national evolution of data infrastructure.Ireland at Venice is an initiative of Culture Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council and the exhibition in2021 will be curated by Annex, a collective of architects, artists, and urbanists. Entanglement responds to the theme selected by the curators of the Biennale Architettura 2021, How will we live together? The exhibition aims to raise awareness about the materiality of the global internet and Cloud services, which is interwoven with the Irish landscape – made manifest through the vast constellation of data centres, fibre optic cable networks, and energy grids that have come to populate its cities and suburbs over recent decades.

Ireland plays a significant historical role in the evolution of global communications and data infrastructure.In 1866, the world’s first commercially successful transatlantic telegraph cable landed on the West coast ofIreland. In 1901, the inventor of the radio Guglielmo Marconi transmitted some of the world’s first wireless radio messages from Ireland across the Atlantic Ocean to Newfoundland. Today, Dublin has overtakenLondon as the data centre hub of Europe, hosting 25% of all available European server space. And by the year 2027, data centres are forecast to consume a third of Ireland’s total electricity demand.

Entanglement draws from both contemporary and historical data storage artefacts as building blocks to form the structure of the pavilion. These artefacts are assembled in a campfire formation, referencing this primitive architectural space where early human civilisations formed alliances, built social networks and eventually developed complex societies. The pavilion asserts that from the burning of campfire logs to the management of waste heat generated by contemporary data infrastructure, the production and distribution of information is intrinsically connected to the production and distribution of heat.

By foregrounding these thermodynamic processes as a link between the architectures of the campfire and the data centre, the pavilion speculates on the relationship between these forms and how diverse communities converge around them in the past and into the future. Entanglement invites its audience to experience this thermal logic themselves through real-time thermographic imaging technologies that juxtapose key sites associated with data infrastructure in Ireland with traces of human activity in the Arsenale.

 

Drone thermographic image of agricultural land in Ireland, highlighting the heat generated from data infrastructure. © ANNEX

Drone thermographic image of agricultural land in Ireland, highlighting the heat generated from data infrastructure.
© ANNEX

 

These complex series of energy-intensive thermal transformations in the pavilion presents an immersive and performative visitor experience from illustrating the extent to which people are producing, consuming and disseminating data across the globe, to bringing transparency to the local and planetary scale of data infrastructure networks; for example, how a Facebook ‘like’ in Malaysia can trigger the emission of heat from a server on the outskirts of Dublin.

 

From top left to right, Donal Lally (GradCAM), Alan Butler (artist) , Clare Lyster (Illinois University), Sven Anderson (GradCAM), David Capener (GradCAM) and Fiona McDermott (Trinity College)

From top left to right, Donal Lally (GradCAM), Alan Butler (artist) , Clare Lyster (Illinois University), Sven Anderson (GradCAM), David Capener (GradCAM) and Fiona McDermott (Trinity College)

 

Annex is an international multidisciplinary research and design collective, comprised of a core team of architects, artists, and urbanists, whose work operates between and beyond the subject areas of computer science, gaming platforms, technology and public space, data centres, sensor technology, and large technical systems. Members include Sven Anderson, Alan Butler, David Capener, Donal Lally, Clare Lyster and FionaMcDermott.

Ireland at Venice is an initiative of Culture Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council and in 2021 thepavilion also has the support of: The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media;Royal Institute of Architects Ireland; TU Dublin School of Creative Arts; TU Dublin Graduate School ofCreative Arts and Media; Trinity College Dublin; CONNECT Research Centre for Future Networks andCommunications; University of Illinois at Chicago, Creative Activity Award; Valentia Slate, ARUP, Office ofPublic Works and Green on Red Gallery.

Irish Pavilion Sponsors

Irish Pavilion Sponsors

 

Time

May 22 (Saturday) 1:00 am - November 21 (Sunday) 1:00 am

Location

30122 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy

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Organizer

Venice Biennale

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