School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences

Exhibition closing event celebrates the art of the extended mind

A one-day symposium brings together philosophers and artists to reflect on themes from distributed cognition and art practice

Marcus Coates, ‘Extinct Animals’, 2018, Plaster of Paris, cast from the artist’s hands. Installation view, ‘The Extended Mind’.
Marcus Coates, ‘Extinct Animals’, 2018, Plaster of Paris, cast from the artist’s hands. Installation view, ‘The Extended Mind’, 2019. Image courtesy Talbot Rice Gallery, The University of Edinburgh

The Extended Mind exhibition at the University's Talbot Rice Gallery explores the theory that cognition extends beyond the brain to people's bodies and objects and even institutions. 

Open until 1 February 2020, the free exhibition features a diverse range of artworks, including, for example, films of a vicarious trip to the Amazon and of robots that learn through embodied interactions.

More to our minds than grey matter, show suggests

The Art of the Extended Mind

To mark the end of the exhibition, this one-day event will feature talks, discussions, and a closing public lecture.

Invited speakers include:

  • Miranda Anderson (University of Stirling)
  • Andy Clark (University of Sussex)
  • Marcus Coates (Artist based in London)
  • Giovanna Colombetti (University of Exeter)
  • Myriam Lefkowitz (Artist based in Paris)
  • Jesse Prinz (City University of New York)
  • Michael Wheeler (University of Stirling)

The Art of the Extended Mind (closing event)

Friday 31 January 2020

1pm - 5.45pm (Interdisciplinary symposium)

6.30pm - 8pm (Closing public lecture by Andy Clark)

Playfair Library, Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh EH8 9YL

Free, but booking required

Interdisciplinary symposium

This event brings together a number of thinkers who have contributed to the philosophical debate over the extended mind and embodied/distributed cognition more generally, to revisit the ideas in light of the artworks.

Other speakers include artists from the exhibition, Marcus Coates and Myriam Lefkowitz, who will reflect on themes from distributed cognition in relation to their own practices.

Like the exhibition, the event aims to bring art and philosophy into dialogue with each other and the public.

The event venue is connected physically to the Talbot Rice Gallery, which will also be open from 5.40pm until 6.30pm after the symposium, where gallery staff will be on hand to introduce the artworks. 

Interdisciplinary symposium tickets | Eventbrite

Closing lecture on cyborg minds

Where does the mind stop, and the rest of the world begin?

Following the interdisciplinary symposium, Professor Andy Clark will deliver a public lecture exploring the extended mind as we enter an age of widespread human enhancement by technology.

Cyborg Minds in Designer Worlds lecture tickets | Eventbrite

Clark worked with David Chalmers in the 1990s and published the paper ‘The Extended Mind’ in 1998. The extended mind hypothesis has since inspired new discussion around the boundaries of what we think of as "human". 

The extended mind in science and society

Distributed cognition projects

The Extended Mind exhibition is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under the broader project heading, The Art of Distributed Cognition (2019-20).

The core academic team is Mark Sprevak (Philosophy, Edinburgh), Miranda Anderson (Philosophy, Stirling), Douglas Cairns (Classics, Edinburgh) and Michael Wheeler (Philosophy, Stirling), working alongside our colleagues at the Talbot Rice Gallery, especially James Clegg and Tessa Giblin.

An associated off-site performance piece by Myriam Lefkowitz, entitled Walk, Hands, Eyes (Edinburgh), is supported by Creative Scotland.

The Art of Distributed Cognition builds on a prior AHRC-funded project, A History of Distributed Cognition. The event on 31 January is partly funded by the University of Stirling. We are grateful for all this support.

A History of Distributed Cognition