Fondazione Prada Kicks Off Three-Year Project on Neuroscience

PRADA-BRAINIACS: It eventually happened: As teased by Miuccia Prada ahead of her fall 2020 fashion show in February, Fondazione Prada is mounting a three-year program of exhibitions, conferences, talks and editorial activities dedicated to neuroscience.

Called “Human Brains,” the multidisciplinary project kicking off next month is centered on the so-called brain studies that are part of neuroscience research.

“In the 25 years of activity of Fondazione Prada I’ve always wanted to work on matters that are relevant for contemporary culture,” said Prada. “This project on neuroscience is probably the most important so far. For an institution like Fondazione Prada, which was born out of an interest for the visual arts, tackling science is a challenge, as it will have to give voice and shape to the researchers’ ideas,” she added.

“The dialogue shaping up with ‘Human Brains’ underlines the importance of collaboration in giving value and spreading disciplines and researches that are fundamental for the present times,” Prada noted.

Fondazione Prada said throughout history, science and culture have been in a constant dialogue with each other. To this end, the project will explore the human brain’s structural, functional and biochemical articulations flanked by research on social and human studies. The subject will be analyzed through different lenses including neurobiology, philosophy, psychology, as well as linguistics, robotics and artificial intelligence.

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A scientific committee spearheaded by Giancarlo Comi, director of the Experimental Neurology Institute at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, and including researchers, physicians, psychologists, linguists and curators is coordinating the activities. Fondazione Prada described the project as “open” in that it promotes the dialogue among members of different disciplines.

Marking the debut of the project, which runs through November 2022, a digital conference called “Culture and Consciousness” will be held virtually Nov. 9 to 13 comprising five daily panel discussions flanked by digital content, including video interviews and podcasts.

In 2021, the Fondazione Prada complex in Milan will host the second chapter of the project, an international conference accompanied by an on-site exhibition that will delve into the research about the regular and pathologic aging of the human brain to highlight the progress made by global studies.

In 2022, to coincide with the Art Biennale in Venice, Italy, the Fondazione Prada’s Ca’ Corner della Regina palazzo will house an exhibit curated by Udo Kittelmann that is meant to translate the findings of the previous two chapters into a IRL showcase.

“The most important brainiacs in the world said they will attend,” Prada said back in February. To be sure, the list of involved personalities spans across multiple disciplines and includes neuroscientist Mavi Sanchez-Vives; neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux; neurolinguistics expert Andrea Moro, and cognitive psychologist Stanislas Dehaene, among others.

Although the Fondazione Prada is a separate entity from the fashion group, the project sits on the same wavelength of the Prada Group’s most recent strengthened commitment to scientific research and its involvement in exploring the role of science in contemporary society.

As reported, last April the company revealed it was financially supporting the “Proteggimi [protect me]” project of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, which investigates the disparity in the impact of COVID-19 on men and women, researching why it predominantly affects men and the role played by male sex hormones in this imbalance.

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