On view from 21 March, the multisensory installation “Your Brain to Me, My Brain to You” inspires a journey of self-discovery

The National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) will present Your Brain to Me, My Brain to You (2022), a new large-scale, site-specific installation by internationally renowned Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist (b. 1962). The immersive video is the artist’s first museum installation in the Middle East and follows the National Museum’s tradition of commissioning site-specific artworks to meet the unique dimensions of its gallery space. On view from 21 March through 20 December 2022, the installation will be accessible to the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected for the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, said, “Visitors of all ages are sure to be captivated by Pipilotti Rist’s dazzling artwork Your Brain to Me, My Brain to You, a journey of light and sound that plunges participants into the intricacies of the human brain while at the same time sweeping them across the natural landscape of Qatar. I am thrilled to announce that after its initial presentation at the National Museum of Qatar, this specially commissioned artwork will be permanently installed at Dadu, Children’s Museum of Qatar, where it will be part of the future museum’s stimulating and inspiring family experiences in the heart of Doha.”

Curated by Qatar Museums’ Curatorial Advisor, Tom Eccles, with the National Museum’s Head of Exhibitions, Bouthayna M Baltaji, the installation invites visitors to embark on a journey of self-discovery through a multisensory experience that inspires introspection and awe. Your Brain to Me, My Brain to You symbolises humanity’s collective unconscious and the power of the mind. A key feature of the installation are “pixels” that comprise 12,000 LED lights strung on cables throughout the gallery for visitors to navigate. Representing neurons, constantly firing and communicating with each other, the pulsing resin-encased bulbs have been programmed in choreography with a soundscape and featuring abstract footage of Qatar’s landscapes.

“Generation after generation, the brain has exponentially grown and adapted to moments, encounters and experiences. As the world is forever altered by the Covid-19 pandemic, the brain continues to surprise and exceed expectations. We are faced with the question of how we can overcome the deconstruction of our perceived realities and norms,” explains Bouthayna M Baltaji, Head of Exhibitions, the National Museum of Qatar. “In equal parts enlightening and enchanting, Pipilotti Rist’s spectacular installation invites us to recognise the array of emotions, interpretations, and the sheer capacity the mind is able to absorb and withstand. As they make their way through the exhibit, we encourage visitors to turn off their screens and prepare to experience the journey fully, shifting their focus towards activating different senses.”

“This work is both a collective and individual experience. We want to understand what is happening inside the brain of the other. And culture is the main way to try to understand each other beyond language. I’m very much interested in rooms where people come together. Today, the electronic image is often separating us, everyone is looking to their own device. And then I’m searching for possibilities how we can use electronics as wonder lights to bring us together,” Rist explains.

This work is both a collective and individual experience. We want to understand what is happening inside the brain of the other. And culture is the main way to try to understand each other beyond language. I’m very much interested in rooms where people come together. Today, the electronic image is often separating us, everyone is looking to their own device. And then I’m searching for possibilities how we can use electronics as wonder lights to bring us together.

Rist is no stranger to the visual interplay of large-scale audio-visual installations and deeper messages about humanity. Your Brain to Me, My Brain is inspired by NMoQ and the landscape, history, and people of Qatar. Following the trajectory of NMoQ from early geology through the evolution of the Qatari people, pearling, oil exploration and the incredible growth of Qatar the installation is a place for contemplation and awe.

The commission of Your Brain to Me, My Brain to You demonstrates the Museum’s commitment to sharing the most revered and respected artists from around the world with local audiences and recognizing the work of brilliant female artists.