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Jill Bolte Taylor’s Brain Display Vandalized

Lightning bolts on the sleep and pain brain were designed to show pain. There were eight lightning bolts, but four of them have been broken off.

A number of the brains on parade around Bloomington have sustained some degree of damage, but it’s nothing brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor didn’t expect.  In fact she says it’s part of the reason why she wanted to do the public art display.

Twenty-two giant fiberglass brains were installed around Bloomington and the IU campus at the end of April. Each one is uniquely designed by an area artist.  They include a fiber optic brain, a chalkboard brain and a spray foam brain.  Many of them have been damaged. The sleep and pain brain for example had eight huge lightning bolts coming out of it – four of which have been broken off.  Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor calls the damage just another part of the program.

“It’s part of the reason we did this,” she says. “Our mental health is not at an ultimate peak in our society and I think this is a natural expression of some of that which is a progression of what’s going on in someone’s mind – oh here is a beautiful thing, let’s destroy it.”

The “Brain Extravaganza” is focused on appreciation, awareness and education about the brain – with the ultimate goal being the better people understand the brain the better they will take care of their own.

“I think our brains are vulnerable,” Bolte Taylor says. “I think what’s happening to these brains  is comparable to what happens to us as individuals and this is kind of a projection of what’s going on inside of us and fortunately 99.9 percent of us are gonna love them and maybe .01 percent are going to abuse them.”

Some of the damaged brains have been repaired, but Bolte Taylor says in some cases the brains won’t be fixed. She says people do check the brains often for damage, and she is considering the idea of forming a brain watch group.

The brains will be on display around Bloomington through the fall.


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