The Brain Index is an interactive digital installation in the public lobby of the Renzo Piano-designed Jerome L. Greene Science Center at Columbia University.
Conceived by Laura Kurgan and Mark Hansen of the Center for Spatial Research, the piece combines art, science, data, storytelling and information design, and invites visitors to consider the brain from new perspectives and to explore the current research of leading neuroscientists working upstairs in the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute.
The purpose of the installation is to engage the public, capture their imagination, encourage wonder and reward curiosity by vividly communicating complex brain science and why it matters. Stories by individual researchers sharing their work in pushing the boundaries of neuroscience are told through broadly accessible interactives that combine narrative text and illustrations, information design, laboratory simulations, and research artifacts.
The floor-to-ceiling white LED canvas flies the viewer through different large-scale visualization models of the brain while kinetic, door-sized high-resolution LCD's track, highlight and visually detail the parts of the brain that relate to the research being introduced. At key moments in the choreography, the tracking screens descend to the lobby visitors to engage with them through interactive research stories exploring cognition, sensory perception, decision making, learning and memory, addiction and reward, neural networks, and DNA sequencing.
Working under the project leadership of Technomedia, AV&C was part of a world-class team, that also included Tait Towers. AV&C led the project’s UX/IX design, scientific visualization, illustration and software development. Technomedia designed, engineered & installed all of the display components, including the unique white LED system, and tapped Tait to handle the robotic aspects of this groundbreaking piece.