Deborah Aschheim

Deborah Aschheim makes large-scale immersive installations, sculptures and drawings based on invisible worlds of memory and information. For the past ten years, she has been trying to understand and visualize memory, a subject that has led her to collaborate with musicians and neuroscientists. Aschheim has had solo and group exhibitions across the United States, including Suyama Space in Seattle, WA; San Diego State University Art Gallery; the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA; the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC; Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, MO; the Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh, PA; Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, CA; Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, CA. She has completed permanent commissions for Amazon.com, the City of Sacramento and the Los Angeles Police Department. She has received artists’ fellowships from the California Community Foundation the Center for Cultural Innovation and the City of Los Angeles, and from 2009-11 she was the Hellman Visiting Artist at the Memory and Aging Center in the Neurology Department at the University of California, San Francisco. This summer, she is exhibiting “Involuntary Memories,” exploring Southern Californians’ collective memories of the Nixon Years, at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, CA, in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of President Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1974.

Title of Talk: Thresholds of Significance: some art and science collaborations

Teaser: From 2009-2011 I was Visiting Artist at the Memory and Aging Center (MAC) in the Department of Neurology at UCSF. The MAC is well known for research into visual creativity and the brain, particularly some startling findings of patients seeming to develop increased visual sensitivity and creative expression despite or possibly as a result of language deterioration seen in Frontotemporal Dementia. My initial proposal was to use my residency to make a connection between UCSF MAC clinical and research programs, and to repurpose experimental data into artworks for waiting areas in the MAC’s hospital, office and lab sites throughout San Francisco.

One of my Visiting Artist projects was a collaboration with musician Lisa Mezzacappa and Soprano/Neuroscientist Indre Viskontas, which involved scanning our own brains to compare our subjective experience with memory and cognition to what the machines could show us. For Seeing/Knowing, I will premiere the final version of two four-channel videos we created that blend hand drawn animation, live footage, experimental data from EEG (Electroencephalography) and fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and original music into a new artwork. I will also share my experiences working with researchers and clinicians studying memory and cognition at UCSF and University of Pittsburgh between 2006-2012.

Deborah Aschheim