Two leading neuroscientists, Professor Semir Zeki and Professor Atsushi Iriki, examined curious connections between the 650-year-old tradition of Noh and the mechanisms of our brain.
‘Since so much in Noh performance is left to the imagination, which is a mental activity produced by the brain, I have decided to supplement what is on stage with lighting that will produce a visible, sensory counterpart – coloured shadows – which is also produced by the brain.’ Professor Semir Zeki, a pioneer of neuroesthetics spoke about the objectivity of subjective state and illustrated this using the coloured shadow illusions in collaboration with Noh performers.
“You are making reality up in a way. I mean, the only reality you can experience is what the brain allows you to experience.”Professor Semir Zeki
Watch a full interview with Professor Semir Zeki.
Professor Atsushi Iriki examined evidence-based speculations in light of his recent research on how we acquired the concept of the ‘meta-self’ (a third-person sense of our own existence) in relation to Riken-no-ken (a form of self-analysis used by Noh performers) and how we visualise illusions as realistic entities in Noh performances.
Listen to a talk given by Professor Atsushi Iriki on cognition and social neuroscience at the Brain Science Institute in Japan.