We live much of our lives in our heads — looking forward, recollecting, yearning, regretting, day-dreaming. For most people this inner life is frequently visual: they can conjure up an image of something in their ‘mind’s eye’ that is a little like looking at it. However, around 3% of the population - those with the condition aphantasia — lack imagery altogether, while for another minority — with hyperphantasia — imagery is so vivid that it resembles ‘real seeing’.
Extreme Imagination: inside the mind’s eye considers the impact of these phenomena on making art. How can someone make anything without being able to imagine what they want it to look like? Is there a distinctly hyperphantasic kind of art? Aphantasia and its opposite teach us about human diversity: the easily-missed, potentially startling differences between how individuals go about their inner lives.
The work of the participating artists — and designers, architects, and writers — demonstrates the diversity of means by which things come to be made, and challenges long-held beliefs about what it means to be ‘creative’.
Supported by The Arts and Humanities Research Council
(Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement Scheme)
Image: Isabel Nolan, A lion with a thorn in his paw, 2015. Courtesy Kerlin Gallery