I’m not sure whose idea it was to make a brain out of human bodies (hmmm, actually I think it was mine…), but Jodi Lomask, director of the dance company “Capacitor”, was intrigued. Jodi was making a piece about what happens in the brain when one participates in the act of creating. What does creativity look like? We were tossing around ideas for images to promote a show she was making called “Synaptic Motion”. More facetiously than anything else, I noted how closely the folds of the brain resembled folded up people. Never one to miss an opportunity, Jodi said “I think that’s a great idea – can we do that?”. I thought for a minute and said, I think it would take around 20 people, and of course, they would have to be naked”. Without a moment’s thought, Jodi said “20 sounds about right, and of course, they should be naked. How soon can we do it?”

That next Saturday, 20 people showed up at the studio and about an hour later everyone was naked and trying to figure out what shapes they should be making and where on the brain they should be. That’s where the trouble started. You’d think 20 naked people would be fairly easy going. I mean, you’d think if you were willing to spend the day naked, climbing all over 19 other people (some you’d never met), “easy going” would be sewn into the DNA.

People started dividing themselves up according to brain function – you read that right – Brain Function. “I’ll be anywhere on the Frontal Lobe, but I’m just not the Cerebellum type.” said a couple of naked people. Another exclaimed “Jodi said I could be the Broca Area – it’s that or nothing!”. And, two other naked people jumped up and, almost in unison, said “Yeah, and I was promised the Occipital Lobe!”. And so it went for about an hour. “I was a Parietal Lobe in college – never again.” and, “After 12 years of Yoga, I’m feeling Temporal Lobe…” “Primary Somatosensory Cortex for me – I ain’t Secondary to nobody” Jodi looked at me and said “What the hell is wrong with these people?”

Then a crack. Someone generously said “I don’t care where I am as long as it’s not the Stem.” It was something anyway. Then someone said to the group “Hey we’re all mature brain parts, can’t we just climb all over each other and get this thing done? I know we’re all Visual Cortex types, but can’t we all be Left Brained, just for the afternoon?” Then another voice rang out “You’re right, let’s hug it out and get back to work makin’ brains.”

For all the headaches, the trouble was over as quickly as it started. Twenty naked brain parts came together as one, and in the end, even the Brain Stems were feeling fulfilled.

Capacitor Brain image