Ellen Sandor & (art)n : Eternal Pruning of the Beautiful Mind, 2020
Microglia are the primary immune cells of our central nervous system, that are responsible for pruning synapses. During synaptic pruning, our brain eliminates extra synapses–brain structures that allow neurons to transmit electrical or chemical signals to another neuron. Synaptic pruning is thought to be our brain’s way of removing connections in the brain that are unnecessary or no longer needed.
In the Eternal Pruning of the Beautiful Mind VR game, players are invited to balance pruning away extra synapses, exploring what is too much or too little, by directing microglia to correctly prune the ideal number of synapses. When too many synapses are pruned away, dramatic visual changes occur for the player within the scene. When “over-pruning”, players experience fainter sound quality, fading color changes and diminishing light. In contrast, “under-pruning” intensifies their sensory experiences of louder sound effects, saturated color and brighter light. By responding to these sensory cues to direct microglial cells, players can control one aspect of synaptic pruning, and ponder how these important sequences may be taking place within our brain. Created in tandem with the PHSCologram diptych, Mighty Microglia and Pruning the Neuronal Forest.
Game Goal: Create neuronal balance by pruning synapses. Over-pruning results in softer sound quality and dimmed light to almost darkness. Under-pruning results in the intensification of brighter light, saturated color and louder sound effects.
Navigate the environment by using arrows on your keyboard.
Use your mouse or trackpad to select the synapses (glowing white circles) and that will direct microglia to prune.
Note: For better performance, it is recommended to open the game with any browser except Safari.
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