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A black silhouette of an individual stands in front of a projected heavily textured background. The combination of the colours resemble the pool of rainbow colours following an oil spill. The iridescence illumination merges from the centre of the silhouetted head bursting outwards in asynchronous waves.

Visual Art: ‘Augmented Body, Altered Mind’ and launch of ‘Divergently Together’ by AlanJames Burns

16 May 2024 (Past)

Townhall Arts Centre, Town Hall St, Keadew, Cavan

Critically acclaimed artist AlanJames Burns with Creative Ireland and DCU presents an exciting interactive art experience in Cavan this June.

Artist AlanJames Burns will be exhibiting immersive artwork Augmented Body Altered Mind in Townhall Arts Centre, Cavan from 4 June – 8 June. Co-created by the public, this immersive artwork explores the intersections of the climate crisis, individual agency, and variations in the human brain and cognition. This exhibition will ignite the launch of the artist’s and DCU’s latest project, Divergently Together, which leverages STEM technologies to empower disabled and neurodivergent communities in climate action.

Augmented Body, Altered Mind  is a collaborative, interactive artwork that weaves a brain-computer interface with a projected audiovisual environment. The work discusses the effect of climate change on people with lived experience of disability, with a particular focus on neurodivergence. It highlights the unique perspectives that these communities have on climate change. Augmented Body, Altered Mind examines correlations between the natural world, neurology, philosophy, and neurodivergence. By wearing a Brain-Computer Interface headset, the audience becomes immersed in evocative imagery and soundscapes as their brainwaves guide undulating, amorphous visuals and scripted audio-dialogue to shift and merge.

Augmented Body, Altered Mind  has been co-created by AlanJames Burns (lead artist), Carys D. Coburn and Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan (writing), Michael Riordan (composition), and collective Ibragim (digital visuals).

Divergently Together uses STEM technologies to facilitate the participation of disabled and neurodivergent communities in climate action, supporting a just transition and breaking down stigmas around neurodiversity and disability in the process.

Climate change disproportionately affects disabled communities through eco-ableism, lack of accessible information, physical vulnerabilities in extreme weather events, increased sensitivity in heat waves due to critical medications, and lack of access funding in climate action projects, to name a few. People with lived experience of disability also have expert skill sets needed to address the climate emergency, such as resilience, resourcefulness, and specialist knowledge of navigating a world of barriers and obstacles. People with neurodiversity think creatively in non-linear exploratory patterns that could greatly support climate mitigation solutions, yet they are largely excluded from climate action.

In Phase 1,  Divergently Together concentrates on the wide spectrum of disability across 4 locations. It brings together disability communities and climate action policymakers to spark local conversations on the effects of climate change policy on the lived experiences of people with disabilities in Ireland. In Phase 2, AlanJames Burns will work with a cross border neurodivergent community formed for the project in Cavan and Fermanagh to co-create interactive digital artworks incorporating animation and storytelling. These artworks explore how neurodiversity, through creative thinking abilities, provides us with unique skill sets to contribute to climate mitigation.

Augmented Body Altered Mind was first commissioned by Carlow Arts Festival 2022 following the earlier development of a prototype Open Mind, Closed System for Carlow Arts Festival 2021. The work was developed further for The Earth Vision London 2022. The project has been funded and supported by Arts Council of Ireland, Arts and Disability Ireland, Arts Council England and Insight Centre for Data Analytics DCU.

Divergently Together is a recipient of the Creative Climate Action fund, an initiative from the  Creative Ireland  Programme. It is funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media in collaboration with the Department of the Taoiseach and awarded to  Dublin City University  in collaboration with the  Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics.

For more information, please visit:  www.alanjamesburns.com

AlanJames Burns and team have created a Know Before You Go Guide available here.
In this document you will find more information about the exhibition, the venue, how to get to the venue, and what access supports are available.

Easy Read Description:  Augmented Body, Altered Mind is a visual art exhibition about climate change and thinking differently. You can wear a small headset and interact with visuals and audio. The headset is activated by the electricity in your brain. Because everyone’s brain is different, each person’s experience of the artwork is different.

Divergently Together is a project that uses science and technology (STEM) to help people with disabilities and those who think differently (neurodivergent) join efforts to fight climate change. We want to make sure everyone can be part of this important work. We will help break down unfair ideas about disability and thinking differently.

In the first part of  Divergently Together, we are bringing together disabled people and climate experts in Ireland to talk about how climate change policies affect disabled people’s lives. In the second part, we are teaming up with a group of neurodivergent people in Cavan and Fermanagh to create digital art that shows how thinking differently can help fight climate change.

AlanJames Burns is a neurodivergent and environmental artist and curator producing interactive, socially engaged and site-specific exhibitions. The focal points of their artistic practice are disability,  climate change  and the human mind. AlanJames Burns works highly collaboratively with other  visual artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers and scientists through their projects.

With special thanks to: Creative Ireland, Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics, DCU, The Arts Council, Cavan County Council Arts Office, Townhall Arts Centre, Actual Perceptions, ADI, Carlow Arts Festival

Image Credit: Augmented Body, Altered Mind (2022) by AlanJames Burns.

Image Credit: Augmented Body, Altered Mind (2022) by AlanJames Burns.

Image Credit: Augmented Body, Altered Mind (2022) by AlanJames Burns.

The Arts

AlanJames Burns
Augmented Body Altered Mind
Divergently Together
Immersive Artwork