Columbia University, Zuckerman Institute Brain Index
An interactive, multi-user digital installation in the public lobby of the Jerome L. Greene Science Center at Columbia University.

Columbia University, Zuckerman Institute Brain Index

An interactive, multi-user digital installation in the public lobby of the Jerome L. Greene Science Center at Columbia University.

The Brain Index is a large-scale permanent installation uniting art, science, electronic data, and information design. It invites visitors to consider the brain from different perspectives and to explore the current research of the neuroscientists working upstairs in the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute.

The purpose of the installation is to engage the public, capture their imagination, encourage wonder, and reward curiosity by vividly communicating the complexities of the research—and why it matters. Broadly accessible interactive storytelling unravels the work of individual researchers pushing the boundaries of neuroscience through combinations of illustration, laboratory simulations, information design, research artifacts, and narrative text.

The multiscreen floor-to-ceiling display flies the viewer through different large-scale visualization models of the brain while door-sized high-resolution monitors track, highlight, and visually detail the parts of the brain that relate to the research being introduced. At key moments in the choreography, or as users approach the LED screen, the tracking screens descend to the lobby floor to allow visitors to engage directly with the interactive research-based stories, unspool the complexities of cognition, sensory perception, decision making, learning and memory, addiction and reward, neural networks, and DNA sequencing.

The Brain Index was a complex collaborative project bringing together multiple disciplines including robotics, UX/UI design, architecture, 3D visualizations, illustration, software development, hardware and software development and integration. Working under the project leadership of AV&C my role was UX/UI, creative direction and design of interactive stories, illustration creative direction, information design and game design developed in collaboration with the scientists and content creators at the Zuckerman Institute.

Agency Partner: AV&C, New York
Project Principal: David Bianciardi (AV&C)
Project Lead: Stephen Baker (AV&C)
Creative Director, Interactive Stories: Weston Bingham
Experience Strategy, UX Design: Stephen Baker, Weston Bingham
UI Design: Weston Bingham, Stephen Baker
Brain Visualizations and Animation: Stephen Baker, Jacob Williams
Illustrator: Fernando Volken Togni
Writers: Columbia University

Columbia University Partners: Mark Hansen, Laura Kurgan, Kelly Remole
Architecture: Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Video by AV&C