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Email: sberinstein@brandeis.edu

Sofia Rebeca Berinstein

sofia berinstein

When I was a teenager I wanted to be a serious conceptual artist, and I set out to follow that ambition at The Cooper Union, which is an art school in New York. I discovered though that my idea of what a conceptual artist does is much closer to what some philosophers do, namely posing questions and conducting thought experiments, albeit in visual forms, including sculpture, performance, and photography. The best project I made while I was there was a sculpture that depicted the three dimensional color space of human vision, on the axes of hue, value, and saturation, which is a very weird shape. I discovered artists who were primarily interested in the work of 20th century language philosophy and tried to riff off of them. The main ‘concept’ I cared about was perception. I was interested in how photographs differed and coincided with sight and how self-reflective mental process altered behavior. Spoiler alert: I’m still interested in mostly the same things.

Sofia's sculpture

 I thought that if I went to MIT’s Art, Culture, and Technology Program that I could become an interdisciplinary artistic researcher, who understood the precepts of cognitive neuroscience, perception in in the context of visual art, and philosophy of language and perception. This might have been a bit ambitious in retrospect. I did get to go to Mongolia and photograph the paths of nomadic families, and also to Japan, where I found a film that had endured a tsunami. After that I took a few years off to work, and now I’m trying to do the same thing again, except that I’m taking up philosophy as the platform, rather than art, and will be willing to call myself whatever is required to be able to do things like research, develop, make and talk about phenomenology, visual perception, how perception relates to thought, how we validly relate subjective experiences to collected data about the brain, and how language and art might function as cooperative tools to understand how to begin to understand our experiences.

Stuff I like to do: Cook a tarte tatin, take photographs with large cameras and large film, hike the Appalachian Trail (half finished as of summer 2015). I live in Waltham with Milo and Lola (who are cats).