Science Works: And The Deaf Hear Video

Art was the first neurotechnology: A feel-good video to start your weekend


Laura Ingram

Last week I met Pennsylvania State University research technologist Phillip Galinsky at Transhumanism Summer Camp at Juniata College. Galinsky gave a terrific talk on the recent advances in neurotechology. Galinsky later showed me his video And The Deaf Hear where he melds the power of art with the brilliance of technology. I asked him if it would be OK for me to post the video at Reason? He kindly consented.

Galinsky explains why he put together this one minute video containing footage of activation of cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants. From Galinsky:

  • This is just a small example of the low hanging fruit that science has produced for modern artists, but which modern artists are not often using as subject matter for their work.
  • My intention is to use the emotional and glorifying power of music to bring the viewer into an emotional state that more closely resembles the emotional state of a deaf person gaining hearing.
  • Modern art culture must rediscover what Richard Wagner referred to as the "glorifying power of art".  Art has been used for glorification of phenomena since its birth.  Art was the first neurotechnology and good art is still just as functional as a tool for behavioral change as it was when it began – our brains simply have not changed enough as of yet to resist the emotionally persuasive power of art.
  • Most artists today are used for advertising, and art has always been a tool for behavioral change.  Completely free modern artists tend to focus on negative topics, and it's important to make negative art to bring attention to important negative issues.  However, we need to also embrace a more Roman attitude towards art, and glorify those subjects that are worthy of glorification, such as restoring hearing to the deaf.

Enjoy your weekend.