Neural Bridges, public installation, The Brain Project, Toronto. Collection Yorkdale Mall

Neural Bridges (Brain Project, Toronto, 2016)

Neural Bridges consists of five layers, each a design of a different type of bridge: arch, truss, suspension, closed arch and double trunnion. The bridges are broken at various places over the span of their structure, no longer connecting. Inspiration for this design stems from an article in Scientific American ("Rise of the Microglia," Oct. 23, 2015) about the function of cells in the brain called microglia. During childhood, microglial cells play a critical role in the healthy pruning of synapses (structures that connect cells so they can share information). There is growing evidence, however, that the breaking of important synaptic connections by microglia in adulthood may contribute to neurodegenerative diseases (such as dementia and Alzheimer's). Neural Bridges is a metaphor for the breakdown in the brain’s ability to communicate with itself, yet also speaks to its resiliency as demonstrated by the strength of the centre bridge, the double trunnion, which remains intact.

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