Constellation: Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity is a term I have found incredibly intriguing since discovering it in a lecture from term one’s constellation- Archeologies of the Unseen. Neuroplasticity is the concept that the brain can reorganise and change itself over time, for better or worse. This theory seems to completely annihilate the nature vs. nurture argument, proving (through controversial and dismissed experiments, but proving none the less) that the brain can be manipulated and changed throughout the lifespan of the host. Michele Malacarne conducted experiments on chimpanzees in the 1700s, in which he would train one intensely and leave the other to live it’s natural life. After sufficient time, Malacarne dissected the primates and found that the brain of the trained chimp was significantly different to the natural chimp, seeming to prove that the brain can be changed as chosen by a manipulator.

In my opinion, the results of these experiments mean masses to the world of graphic communication, as it opens up the idea that a strong piece of graphic communication distributed publicly and displayed widely could influence the decisions and opinions of people on a wide scale. This places an incredible amount of power in the hands of a graphic designer, as they could potentially, in theory, hold the ability to influence people for bad reasons, for example radicalisation or selfish reasons. However, in an idea world and the world that most of society want to create, graphic design can be used as a powerful tool of changing the world for the better. In a recent project on my course, we began with the First Things First manifesto from 1964 and 2000. The manifesto was assembled by a group of designers, and it contained motivational and provoking information on the ways in which graphic communication has become an abused craft. It talks about how graphic designers results to created trivial and shallow work for everyday purposes, when they could be using their power as a designer to inform and educate. It encourages designers to design for the love of the art, not because of a need for money in a commercialised and money crazy society (though hopefully by doing something you love and being good at it, you could combine the two).

I think that it is important to consider the possibility of combining these two ideas – neuroplasticity which I discovered through constellation and the meaning behind the First Things First manifesto which I discovered in subject – and the idea that graphic communicators can utilise this theory in creating powerful work to change the world for the better through instigating social change.


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