David Claerbout in conversation with Iain McGilchrist


From 30 July 2021


David Claerbout in conversation with Iain McGilchristDavid Claerbout in conversation with Iain McGilchrist


As a follow-up to the public program accompanying David Claerbout’s exhibition Unseen Sound, the Belgian artist will talk to psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist.

Professional psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist is best known for his book The Master and His Emissary. The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (2009) which debunks myths and analyzes the scientific evidence dealing with the functioning of the brain’s two hemispheres. Rejecting the stereotypical division of the brain into logical (left) and creative (right) halves, the scientist concludes that the hemispheres process information differently: the left focuses on details, the right concentrates on the bigger picture.

The Master and His Emissary had a huge impact on David Claerbout’s artistic practice. As a practitioner who works with video and photography, he considers the book to be a precious tool in talking about the perception of reality in general and art in particular. During the conversation, Claerbout and McGilchrist will discuss some key issues raised by the book and will try to think about how they could be applied in the field of aesthetic perception.


David Claerbout is a Belgian video artist who has been working with images obtained using computer manipulations since the early 2000s. Claerbout is particularly interested in the effects of digital images on our “metabolism,” i.e., how our physical and sensory reflexes change in response to stimuli from an increasingly digital environment.

Iain McGilchrist is a psychiatrist and a former professor of literature at Oxford, who gained recognition after publishing The Master and His Emissary (2009).


The lecture will take place via Zoom with a broadcast on YouTube.