A growing body of research confirms the brain's remarkable ability to reorganise itself in response to different sensory experiences. The curated selection I recommended for this year's festival therefore emphasizes the presence of the physical body in the cinema space and the possibility of its sensory experience.
The moment a visitor opens the programme brochure and starts to choose on which event to focus they are participating in a rather complex process. They must decide whether to take into account the list of awards, the familiar names of the creators, the appeal of the images and text, or a combination of all. They pick up a pen and start to circle. The fun ends when the blue circle asks how free their choice really was.
The method of free will, which takes place only on the level of consciousness, unlike whispering (suggestion), uses the potential of the mind to transform its own brain, i.e., itself. It is based on the observation that the brain is plastic, able to change, learn and forget, injure, or heal multiple times throughout childhood and adult life. Positive neural changes can be achieved by the only known non-invasive means besides the administration of psychotropic substances such as LSD, psilocybin, or ketamine — repetition of specific thoughts, i.e., learning.
Visitors bring with them into the hall a mass (vibration) with its own memory, but also conflicting emotions that are temporary. For example, they get wet on the way, they are punished by the usher for arriving late, their seat is in the middle of a crowded hall... Negative feelings caused by external factors can be suppressed by another neuroplastic method used to stabilize the shocked limbic system — by focusing attention on something else: an erotic memory, the shape of a neighbour’s earlobe, a film.
This selection is an echo of the Neuroplasticity Workshop held as part of the Mushroom Descendants Symposium.