The Extended Mind

2 Nov 2019 – 1 Feb 2020

Regular hours

10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
12:00 – 17:00

Talbot Rice Gallery

Edinburgh, United Kingdom


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The Extended Mind proposes that our mind – that is our thoughts, reasoning, perception, imagination, intelligence, emotion and experience – is not simply contained within our brains.


Gianfranco Baruchello, Marcus Coates, Marjolijn Dijkman, Nikolaus Gansterer, Joseph Grigely, Agnieszka Kurant & John Menick, Daria Martin, William McKeown, Goro Murayama, Angelo Plessas, Magali Reus

From shadow puppetry of extinct animals, to videos exploring the impact of electromagnetic waves on our thoughts and cultures, to robots that learn through contact and the idea that digital technology is driving us towards a new collective sense of self, The Extended Mind is set across a diverse series of journeys to other real and imagined places.

Across the work of 12 international artists The Extended Mind includes: paintings that describe our sometimes coincidental connection to systems – whether sociocultural, industrial, mechanical or virtual – which define our place in the world (Gianfranco Baruchello); an experience-expanding vicarious trip to the Amazon Jungle and shadow puppets evoking extinct animals (Marcus Coates); works exploring the problematics of how huge spatio-temporal scales are brought into our understanding, including the portents of artificial intelligence and communications with extra terrestrial life (Marjolijn Dijkman); enactments of the symbols and processes we use to think (Nikolaus Gansterer); notes that an artist – deaf from
the age of ten – has used to communicate, revealing our embodied relationship to language (Joseph Grigely); a project exploring the distribution of cognitive tasks across the emergent community of Turkers, remotely employed to do menial tasks (Agnieszka Kurant & John Menick); videos of robots that learn through embodied interactions with human dancers (Daria Martin); abstract paintings that capture the nuanced interplay between
objective and subjective experiences and the active nature of perception (William Mckeown); works where artist and artwork emerge together through self-generating (autopoietic) processes (Goro Murayama); remote retreats from the insidious effects of the corporately-motivated internet (Angelo Plessas); and artworks that configure objects from everyday life in a way that helps us to recognise their often unseen cognitive roles (Magali Reus).

The Extended Mind shows art to play a vital
role in scaffolding new forms of understanding, enabling creative thinking beyond the constraints of one’s own imagination. In an interactive
space with audio talks by the History of Distributed Cognition academics, visitors are invited to think through the ideas with their
hands whilst listening.

A merging of academic and curatorial minds led to this exhibition by the History of Distributed Cognition project and Talbot Rice Gallery as the main outcome of a collaborative project on the Art of Distributed Cognition (2019–20), funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Curated by Miranda Anderson, Tessa Giblin
and James Clegg



Miranda Anderson

Tessa Giblin

James Clegg

Exhibiting artists

Daria Martin

Agnieszka Kurant & John Menick

William McKeown

Angelo Plessas

Magali Reus

Nikolaus Gansterer

Gianfranco Baruchello

Joseph Grigely

Marcus Coates

Goro Murayama

Marjolijn Dijkman


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