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Ragged University: The Extended Mind

16th January 2020 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Talbot Rice Gallery (
Old College
South Bridge, Edinburgh EH8 9YL
Ragged University: The Extended Mind @ Talbot Rice Gallery ( | Scotland | United Kingdom

Come along to the Talbot Rice Gallery (The University of Edinburgh, South Bridge, Edinburgh EH8 9YL) on 16th Jan 2020 from 2 – 4 pm for a leisurely introduction to the ideas of Distributed Cognition by Doug, lunch, and a tour by James…

The Extended Mind talk and tour at Talbot Rice Gallery by James Clegg

The Extended Mind is based on the idea that our bodies, objects, language, institutions, other people and environments, expand our capacity to think, feel and orient ourselves in the world. This idea, that cognition is not simply something that takes place in the brain, is often called distributed cognition. A curatorial and academic endeavour, the exhibition grows from a collaboration between Talbot Rice Gallery and a research project called The History of Distributed Cognition.

The History of Distributed Cognition (2014-2018) aimed to show the relevance of distributed cognition to the arts and humanities. It revealed links to practices and ideas throughout Western Europe, from classical antiquity through to the twentieth century. The Extended Mind exhibition asks how this relates to contemporary art practice.

Across the work of 12 international artists it includes videos of robots that learn through embodied interactions; sculptures that reveal our cognitive relationship with objects; critical engagements with technocratic forms of anonymous and distributed labour; vicarious trips to the Amazon jungle; and artificial intelligence and spiritualist responses to the internet age. It invites you on journeys to other real and imagined places, demonstrating how art plays a vital role in scaffolding new forms of understanding.

The event will consist of:

  • An introduction to the key themes of Distributed Cognition by Doug Cairns, Professor of Classics.
  • Lunch with a discussion about how we all use our bodies and the world to extend the capacities of our brains, whether orientating ourselves, remembering things, navigating or calculating.
  • A tour of The Extended Mind exhibition – including the work of 12 contemporary artists – at Talbot Rice Gallery, led by curator James Clegg.

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