the original brainchild?

one of the ongoing themes in this project was to try and find other references or versions of the brainchild concept within art and culture. all the versions i came across have been tagged ‘relatives’ and can be found here [link]

well, a couple of days ago somebody left a comment on the blog shedding further light on a previous find and providing new information. this is a screenshot of the comment…


you saw who wrote that, right? alex grey.

and not just any randomer called alex grey – but this alex grey!

let me start by saying:

HOLY SHITBALLS!! alex grey just commented on my blog!

fanboy moment over, lets now have a look at this piece he refers to…

Alex_Grey-Skullfetus skull fetus – alex grey – 1979 [link]

i had previously referenced his 2002 painting ‘interbeing’ [link], which is clearly the exact same concept. however, this B&W drawing made 23 years previously. i find it fascinating that artists have reoccurring themes in their work over such large spans of time.

so this now stands as the earliest version of the brainchild concept i know of, wherein a foetus is present in the place of a brain.

on a personal note, it is rather exciting to think that such a renowned artist has read my research (and seen the work I created as a result) enough to make such a relevant comment. genuinely inspiring!


the display

I must apologise, as I have been rather remiss in updating this blog. There isn’t that much to say, but for the sake of closure it should be done (even if it is 18months late!)

Sadly, the exhibition never did occur – but I did manage to get a photo when I had most of the materials together as a trial run..


As you can see the brainchild artefact makes up the centre piece, and is surrounded by various media. This method of transmedia storytelling allows us to weave the [fictitious] tale of The Brainchild from a variety of perspectives. Layered up and pieced together they reveal a much more elaborate truth lying behind the façade of a sideshow attraction.

The printed media included old photographs, medical documents and x-rays, a carnival poster, and close-up photographs of the exhibit itself.  The laptop displayed a digital timeline which showed the chronological history of item. There were also two large screens present, showing us the story from the perspective from the showman and his victim respectively.

Screenshot of the digital timeline:


First video:

Second video: