Semir Zeki

Prof. Dr. Stefan Klein und Lisa Glauer (Graduiertenschule) im Gespräch mit

Prof. Dr. Semir Zeki
The Neurobiology of Beauty

Donnerstag, 8. November 2018, 18 Uhr
Grunewaldstr. 2-5, 10823 Berlin, Aula
Veranstaltung in englischer Sprache.
Eintritt frei.
ACHTUNG: Begrenzte Sitzplatzkapazität; wir danken für Ihr Verständnis, falls nicht ausreichend Plätze zur Verfügung stehen. Keine Reservierung möglich.

Abstract: In his book "Art" (1914), the English art critic, Clive Bell, asked: what is common to all that arouses the aesthetic emotion? Neither he nor his successors provided an answer, but the question was inspiring enough to be investigated neurobiologically. The answer is that the experience of beauty, regardless of its source (i.e. whether visual, musical, moral or mathematical) correlates with activity in the same part of the emotional brain, field A1 of the medial orbito-frontal cortex (A1mOFC). And the intensity of activity there is proportional to the declared intensity of the experience of beauty. This gives a neurobiological answer to Bell's question and shows that aesthetic judgment can indeed be quantified. The new findings also address long-standing questions in the philosophies of aesthetics, such as:  Is the experience of beauty culturally determined or does it owe something to biology? How can we distinguish between the beautiful and the sublime?Why do we commonly invest beautiful people with moral qualities that they do not necessarily possess? What is the use of beauty anyway?

Semir Zeki was appointed Professor of Neuroesthetics at University College London in 2008, having previously held the Chair of Neurobiology there. He specialized in studying the organization of the visual brain and has since also contributed to studying the neural mechanisms that are engaged during affective experiences, such as those of beauty, love, and desire.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, London; and also a fellow of other learned societies in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. He holds four honorary doctorates in science and medicine.
Most of his work is published in specialized scientific journals but he has also published the following books: A Vision of the Brain (Blackwell, Oxford, 1993); Inner Vision: an exploration of art and the brain (OUP, 1999); Splendors and Miseries of the Brain (Wiley Blackwell, Oxford, 2009) (translated into German as Glanz und Elend des Gehirns); La Quête de l'essentiel (in French, jointly with the French painter Balthus, Les Belles Lettres, Paris) and  La bella e la bestia (in Italian, jointly with L. Lumer, 2011).
His artistic work, based on his knowledge of colour vision, was exhibited at the Pecci Museum of Contemporary Art, Mian in 2011 under the title of Bianco su bianco: oltre Malevich (White on White: Beyond Malevich).