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Take a peek inside (yourself) at ARTECHOUSE’s neuron-themed art installation

"Life of a Neuron" uses mapping software, augmented reality and high-resolution projector technology in its new exhibit. It aims to allow attendees to get up close and personal with the neurons inside us.

From ARTECHOUSE's Life of a Neuron exhibit. (Courtesy photo)

Digital art exhibition space ARTECHOUSE has a touching new exhibit this fall — and tech is at the forefront.

Life of a Neuron, which premieres September 27, offers a visual display of a neuron’s life cycle from birth, through adulthood and into death. Founder and Managing Director Tati Pastukhova said that ARTECHOUSE was approached by the Society for Neuroscientists three years ago to create the exhibit, which includes multiple years of research and is a collaboration of 20 artists and scientists. It also features multiple brand-new technology offerings, like mapping software, to create the immersive experience.

“We were continuously inspired by the subject matter itself,” Pastukhova told Technical.ly. “The neurons in our brains, responsible for things like feeling, thinking and learning, ultimately define everything about who we are and what we do. Neurons are such an important part of human life, yet we have just scratched the surface in our understanding of them.”

The exhibit, which consists of multiple gallery spaces and is made to be 3-D, uses a combination of projections, audio and lighting capabilities to model a neuron’s experience. In addition to mapping software, Pastukhova said it’s heavily reliant on augmented reality, plus LED displays and cameras that can monitor and provide visuals in the space as guests walk around.

ARTECHOUSE’s Life of a Neuron exhibit uses projector, AR and mapping software technologies (courtesy photo).

She added that the DC  — ARTECTHOUSE location is also undergoing multiple project and audio upgrades for the exhibit. It projects 20K lumens of light at 4K WQUXGA resolution, which she said is a step above Ultra HD, with the widest color spectrum and extremely fast video processing. The audio, she said, is a 25-channel immersive hyperreal sound system from L-Acoustics.

“To be able to dive into the art, to become participants, it creates new opportunities for audiences,” Pastukhova said. “In a certain way, yes [technology] is a tool, but it’s also a creative partner to some of the artists. Especially when we talk about data, AR, AI, when we talk about machine learning, it becomes an extension of the artist.”

A rendering of a neuron in the ARTECHOUSE exhibit (courtesy photo).

Pastukhova said that she hopes the exhibit can help educate people about the neurons within their bodies, which many people know little about. The technology, she said, is a key element to help people visualize the neurons and take that knowledge beyond the gallery’s walls.

“Neurons are shaped by our experiences and walking through that exhibit is going to be that experience that will shape and change you and what you choose to do with your life, how you choose to experience, how it happens to you,” Pastukhova said. “We hope people will give a little bit of thought about who we are, how we are created, because it’s beautiful.”

The exhibit opens this month and runs through November 28. ARTECHOUSE is located at 1238 Maryland Ave. SW.

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