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[Best of 2014] The Year in Brains

The brain made big waves in 2014.

The human brain is the most complex structure in the universe: with over 70 billion neurons and interwoven layers of circuitry, its terrain is so intricate it’s impossible to map the entirety of it. In 2014, the brain took center stage in the art world. From scientific studies of our artistic minds to experimental creative works using EEG technology, we learned a lot about our nervous system.

This is the Year in Brains: 

+ Back in June, we discovered that our brains may be biologically wired to like art

A recent study suggested that staring at the Taj Mahal (or any beautiful architecture, for that matter) could potentially spark as much inner peace as prayer or meditation.

+ Artist Lisa Park manipulated 48 pools of water with her mind for her project, Eunoia II. “I wanted to create an artwork that represents the inner part of myself," she told us. As a bonus: check out Eunoia I.

GIF from Eunoia II

+ In September, we learned that our brain loves a self-image that is vastly different from the way we actually look.

+ Brain-manipulated structures could be the future of architecture—and they might take the form of squishy silicone tentacles.

+ EEG technology helped individuals with disabilities paint using their brainwaves.

+ We may soon “live” our dreams with the help of lucid dreaming technology. iWinks’s Aurora is a headband that measures brain data as you sleep and provides an audiovisual stimulus when you enter REM to make you aware that you’re dreaming without waking you up:

+ In October, we learned that a giant, glowing, 3D-printed fruit fly brain would make a great night light.

+ An alien brain sculpture put on a wild light show on a summer night in Moscow:

Universe Mind by Nikolay Polissky

+ We used our thoughts to control this gooey green pool of magnetic liquid.

+ In August, we found out that the reason why we fall for optical illusions is because our brains are very, very busy.

+ We fought Alzheimer's disease in a video game back in May using white blood cell spaceships.

+ MRI art showed the beauty of the world inside our skulls.

+ Below, this is what thoughts look like when translated into sculptural landscapes:

Architect Ion Popian’s latest project, Mental Fabrications, built sculptural forms from data culled from the unconscious mind.

+ And we were torn between the equally stunning "brain animating" cloud-like cap and a chameleonesque crystal headpiece (below), two fashion accessories controlled by EEG technology. 

The NEUROTiQ "cloud cap" by Sensoree

The wearable-tech headpiece from London design studio, THE UNSEEN

This is the first part of our end-of-the-year series. Stay tuned as we continue to look back on 2014 and collect all of our favorite examples of modern creativity, fantastic innovations, and important trends.

Related:

Artist Manipulates 48 Pools of Water with Her Mind

10 Pieces Of Music Created With Brainwaves

This Art Project Lets Anyone Paint With Brainwaves