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swath of data and imagery he has access to and transforms this information in a way that makes brain and neural imagery easier for the common person to navigate and understand. For Brain City, the three-minute Times Square film was just one of three parts of the project Hutton worked on. Another part involved printing images on construction banners in Times Square that comprised one-half landscape imagery and one-half brain imagery (“Like where a highway would turn into a cell membrane”). The last part was an interactive website where users would click on a region of the brain and be connected with a related landmark or location in New York City (“You click on the auditory cortex, and you’d be redirected to a music venue, or you click on stress regions in the brain, and you’d get a listing for accountants”). But Hutton is already tied to an even more ambitious project. He has been working for six years now on a documentary about the European Union–funded Human Brain Project (originally the Blue Brain project). Every year, he flies out to Europe for a week or two to get exclusive access to footage and interviews for the documentary—as well as conversations with some of the project’s sharpest critics, who deride the whole endeavor as a pipe dream. The project is slated to finish in 2023, and Hutton hopes by then to have a film that’s ready for screening as well. “For me, their success is just as interesting as their failure,” says Hutton. “They have such ambitious goals to understand the human brain and simulate it. If they can’t do it, it will still be exciting to look at as well.” nity to make those images huge.” In projecting those visuals on such a grand scale, it was an opportunity to connect the “feeling of awe and wonder with the night sky, with the complexity of the brain. That visceral effect can really only be achieved when you feel smaller than the image you’re looking at.” Moreover, in working with a moving medium like film, Hutton believes he can get viewers to feel “like their moving through a landscape. It’s immersive.” Hutton likes to visualize the imagery as a travel through a dense setting, suspending the viewer’s disbelief for a moment. “That’s something video can do in a way that a still image of the brain couldn’t.” “At its best,” Hutton says, “this kind of work can provide an emotional connection to the imagery. And once you have that connection, you might interact with the science in a new way. For me that’s the reason this work is important—to share that feeling of awe and wonder.” For Hutton, mapmaking is a perfect analogy for what these neuroscientists are doing in their work. “The loftiest goal I can hope for with the way I use imagery in my work is to show people new landscapes,” he says. “To remind people that these are physical structures, and that these are maps—with aesthetically chosen colors” and other creative decisions being made, “just like in cartography.” The role of scale is also something that Hutton is conscious about when it comes to visualizing neural imagery. “We’re so used to watching any kind of videos on small little screens,” he says. “The Times Square piece was an opportu- SciArt in America April 2015 Courtesy of artist Julia Buntaine. 9