O R I G I N A L R E S E A R C H A R T I C L E
A stage for ne uroscience and art:
the OHBM BrainArt SIG perspective
Valentina Borghesani1*, Zoltan Nagy2, Désirée Lussier1, Ting Xu3,
Roselyne J Chauvin4, Anastasia Brovkin5, Peter Kochunov6, Alain Dagher7,
Sridar Narayanan7, AmanPreet Badhwar1*
1 Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada
2 Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research (SNS Lab), University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
3 Center for the Developing Brain, Child Mind Institute, New York, NY, USA
4 Department of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, USA
5 Institute of Computational Neuroscience, University Medical Centre Hamburg Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
6 Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
7 McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
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: 2022, Volume 2 - 1 - CC-BY: © Borghesani et al.
: 2022, Volume 2 - 1 -
ABSTRACT
Science and art have been intertwined for centuries, as both embody means for humans to represent, communicate, and interpret our
external and internal worlds. The collective effort to gather and organize knowledge about the brain blends well with a wide array of
human creative activities, from visual and performing arts to interactive media. It thus comes as no surprise that the Organization for
Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) has a Special Interest Group (SIG) dedicated to providing a platform for (neuro)sci-art: the BrainArt SIG.
Here, after properly introducing all the main characters, we follow the development of this captivating script: from its grassroots
prelude within the Neuro Bureau to its recent online instantiations. In particular, we highlight our three exhibitions since becoming
an OHBM SIG – Ars Cerebri, 2019; Neurodiversity, 2020; Big Data and Me, 2021 – the associated competitions, and the scienti c
visualization sessions that have contributed to making brain art a distinguishing feature of the OHBM annual meetings, for both
in-person and virtual formats.
Our digital object, written as a piece of theater, ends by highlighting the ways art can help (neuro)science reach a wider audience
as well as break out of its comfort zone: a productive happily ever after!
Keywords: brain art, sci-art, transdisciplinary, science communication, public outreach, OHBM BrainArt SIG
Corresponding Authors: Valentina Borghesani, valentina.borghesani@criugm.qc.ca AmanPreet Badhwar, amanpreet.badhwar@criugm.qc.ca
Received: June 20, 2021
Accepted: Feb 02, 2022
DOI: 10.52294/403c3640-5f89-434b-bf0d-6a999ea593d1
SCENE:
The Master of Ceremonies is standing
in front of the curtain
PROLOGUE
Welcome Guests, all alike in dignity,
To the brain art stage, where we lay our scene,
Exploring neuroscience and art af nity,
Where creativity stands in between.
Distinguished Guests, please take a seat. The story we are
about to tell starts in media res. Two valiant and trustworthy
friends, the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM)
and Aperture Neuro, stand at the side of our protagonist, the
BrainArt Special Interest Group (SIG), as it faces a menacing
antagonist [Fig. 1]. After properly introducing the dramatis
personae, we will  ashback to our beloved characters’ past
as well as  ashforward to their bright future. Do pay atten-
tion, if you please, our story conveys a moral: nothing is out
of reach when neuroscience and art come together.
SCENE:
The curtain open. Set pieces are strewn across
the  oor and hanging mid-air in disarray.
STAGE CENTER:
OHBM, startled by some racket from solemnly
arranging the pieces into a pleasant order.
ENTER STAGE LEFT:
COVID-19
As (un)luck would have it, the OHBM meeting planned
for 2020 in Montreal fell during a period of our lives that