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2016 AIABaltimore and BAF Spring Lecture Series 1: The Science of Beauty: Dr. Ed Connor PhD
March 2, 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Image: “Cloud Shepherd” by Jean Arp. Connor used 3-D shapes based on the works of Arp to study how shapes affect the brain’s aesthetic preferences.
1.5 AIA/HSW LUs available
FREE to attend, and open to the public.
3-D glasses included.
This year, the AIABaltimore and Baltimore Architecture Foundation Spring Lecture Series will take a critical look at Manufacturing Beauty.
Beauty has the power to arouse the senses and create a greater capacity for empathy. However, our modern understanding of beauty still tends to be limited and undervalued. We live in an era where everything is measured, material goods are prized and impersonal exchanges are the norm. And yet, beauty in the built environment can still move us and teach us something new about ourselves and the spaces we inhabit. At a time when efficiency, expense and the bottom line are often project drivers, has beauty for beauty’s sake become a lost model from a bygone era?
What is the value of beauty? This series highlights designers working to answer this question through science, details, place, process, and innovation.
The SCIENCE of Beauty
Featuring: Dr. Ed Connor PhD, Neuroaesthetics, Director of the JHU Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute, Baltimore, MD
Dr. Ed Connor obtained his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins in 1989. After postdoctoral studies at the California Institute of Technology and Washington University, he re-joined the Hopkins Neuroscience Department in 1996. Dr.Connor is a professor of neuroscience at the JHU School of Medicine and the director of the Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute (MBI). The MBI studies the neural mechanisms of higher brain functions using modern neurophysiological, anatomical, and computational techniques. It is a freestanding institute at JHU with strong connections to the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and to the School of Medicine.
Dr. Connor’s research is part of an emerging field called neuroaesthetics, which uses neuroscience to understand and explain perceived beauty within art, music, or any other contemplated or created object. In conjunction with Gary Vikan and the Walters Art Museum, Dr. Connor has created experiments designed to measure how people respond to different shapes and curves within sculpture. He hopes to expand this research into the architectural realm. Discussing their research, Vikan said, “Whether you’re designing a hospital, or a prison,or a place for people with mental issues, having an environment that’s conducive to a sense of peace and culture is common sense.”
In new studies funded by the Hopkins Brain Science Institute, Dr. Connor’s laboratory has begun to investigate the sensory basis of principles behind appreciation of beauty. A few of the questions they seek to explore: how do visual and tactile information processing affect our perception and understanding of 2D and 3D objects? The human capacity for identifying, evaluating, and interacting with objects is remarkable; how do these neural processes determine visual aesthetics, and what is distinct and interesting about the neural activity patterns evoked by beautiful sculptures, paintings and architecture?
All lectures begin at 6pm and are followed by a reception. Lectures are held at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Falvey Hall of the Brown Center.
The lecture location is within walking distance of several public transit options including:
-UB/Mount Royal Light Rail Stop
-Circulator Bus (Purple Line) at N. Charles and Mount Royal Avenue
-Penn Station: Amtrak/MARC
100 free parking spots will be available in the RK&K parking lot at 81 W Mosher St, Baltimore. The lot is located at the east end of Mosher Street, one block east of Mt. Royal Avenue and accessible from the northbound lane only. The lot will close at 9pm.